Nation digest 07/11/04

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Classified data missing from Los Alamos lab

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. -- Two data storage devices containing classified information are missing from Los Alamos National Laboratory, officials said. Lab spokesman Kevin Roark refused to say Friday if the information could jeopardize national security. He said the "Classified Removable Electronic Media" were discovered missing from the Weapons Physics Directorate during an inventory check Wednesday. He refused to specify exactly what was missing, but said the items could be products such as CDs or floppy disks. A search was underway, and lab Director Peter Nanos said he would order a full inquiry into what happened. This is the second such incident in recent months. Classified electronic media was also reported missing in May. That data had been set to be destroyed before it went missing, Roark said at the time. Roark acknowledged Friday that this situation is different because the items were to be used for an upcoming experiment.

Domino's Pizza to deliver stock offering soon

WASHINGTON -- Domino's, the nation's second-largest pizza chain, says it plans to go public, trying to turn 44 years of deep-dish, thin-crust and hand-tossed pies into as much as $400 million for the company and its shareholders. The Ann Arbor, Mich., company, formally known as Domino's Pizza Inc., will offer 24.1 million shares at an estimated price of $15 to $17 each. The stock, which will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol DPZ, is expected to begin trading as soon as Tuesday, according to two people familiar with the plans who declined to speak publicly in advance of the IPO. The company said it will use the proceeds to pay down debt. It has about $943 million in long-term obligations.

New satellite to study Earth's atmosphere

LOS ANGELES -- Earth's atmosphere will soon get a health checkup from a new NASA satellite designed to learn more about the ozone layer, pollution and how the planet's climate is changing. The $785 million Aura mission is scheduled for launch before dawn today aboard a Delta II rocket. Carrying four instruments, the 6,542-pound spacecraft will climb to an orbit 438 miles high and should remain aloft for six years. The launch will complete the first series of NASA's Earth Observation System, joining the land-watching Terra satellite and the Aqua satellite, which studies the planet's water cycle. Earth's atmosphere is 99 percent nitrogen and oxygen, but Aura's interest is in the tiny portion made of other gases, including the stratospheric ozone layer.

Burr-Hamilton duel gets bicentennial replay today

WEEHAWKEN, N.J. -- On a bluff across the Hudson River from Manhattan, a vice president of the United States measured off 10 paces, turned and shot an acclaimed former U.S. Treasury secretary. When Aaron Burr shot his rival, tormentor and sometime friend Alexander Hamilton in a duel exactly 200 years ago today, two men were destroyed. Hamilton's wound was mortal; Burr walked away unscathed but with his reputation dashed for eternity. Today the lineal descendants of Hamilton and Burr plan to gather on the Weehawken waterfront and re-enact this most famous of American duels. Or sort of re-enact it. Douglas Hamilton, an IBM salesman from Ohio and fifth-great-grandson of the treasury secretary, has declined to do anything so tacky as to fall to the ground, grasp his side and moan. He proposes to fire his dueling pistol and wait for the Burr descendant to do the same. Then the Hamilton descendant will kneel.

Disneyland ride closed after three injured

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Disneyland's Big Thunder Mountain Railroad ride was closed indefinitely following an accident that sent three people to the hospital, authorities said Friday. The roller coaster had reopened in March, six months after a California man was killed when the open rail car in which he was riding crashed into the train's derailed locomotive. State safety inspectors were investigating a two-train collision that occurred Thursday at the ride's loading dock. A 10-year-old boy and his parents, ages 42 and 44, were taken to a hospital for treatment of minor back and neck injuries.

-- From wire reports

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