Whistleblower firings called 'incomprehensible'

Saturday, February 1, 2003

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Two Los Alamos National Laboratory investigators who were forced out under armed guard last fall after they found financial laxity and abuses at the lab that built the atomic bomb are getting some vindication.

The pair exposed a scandal that has since claimed five top managers at the lab entrusted with some of America's most sensitive defense secrets.

On Thursday, Energy Department Inspector General Gregory Friedman called the decision to fire the two investigators "incomprehensible," said it discouraged other employees from coming forward, and questioned the timing of the move.

The report came amid a growing threat that the University of California might lose its 60-year-old contract to run the lab. University officials spent the week in Washington, defending it.

Museum officials unveil restored Rosa Parks bus

DEARBORN, Mich. -- When the Montgomery bus boycott ended, then 20-year-old Jesse Daniels put on his best dress shirt, suit and tie, sat in the front of a city bus and rode to restaurant where he had previously not been allowed to eat.

Friday night, Daniels joined about 300 members and employees of the Henry Ford Museum to get a look at where historians say it all began -- the Montgomery city bus on which Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man.

"Now it's really something to see this bus here after everybody's efforts," said Daniels, whose memories of the boycott helped restorers perfect the bus.

"It's a powerful time."

After nearly five months of work, the once-decrepit bus was unveiled, looking as it did on the day of Parks' defiant act.

Collision expert doubts repeat runovers in slaying

HOUSTON -- A woman accused of repeatedly running over her cheating husband with her Mercedes-Benz could not have killed him the way prosecutors claim, the defense's first witness testified Friday.

Prosecutors say Clara Harris circled around and repeatedly hit David Harris with her speeding car, but collision expert Steve Irwin said that while she made tight circles around the body, she hit it only once.

He said he used skid marks and other evidence to reconstruct the car's speed and route, also factoring in the vehicle's 20-foot turning radius.

Prosecution witnesses have disagreed on the number of times David Harris was hit. One said twice, another said five times.

Clara Harris, 44, is accused of running down her orthodontist husband, also 44, in a hotel parking lot after finding him with another woman. Defense attorneys contend his death was accidental.

'Guru of Ganja' convicted of marijuana cultivation

SAN FRANCISCO -- An author of how-to books on growing marijuana and avoiding the law was convicted Friday on federal charges of marijuana cultivation and conspiracy.

Ed Rosenthal, the self-described "Guru of Ganja," maintains he was growing pot to help the sick, which is legal under California law. His case represented the latest clash between state and federal authorities over the medical use of marijuana.

Several people in the courtroom, including Rosenthal's wife and daughter, wept as the verdicts were read.

"This was not a trial. It was called a kangaroo trial," Rosenthal, who remains free on bail, said as supporters chanted: "We love you Ed."

The federal jury concluded Rosenthal was growing more than 100 plants, conspiring to cultivate marijuana and maintaining a warehouse for a growing operation.

--From wire reports

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