Railroad sued for forcing workers to take DNA tests
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Railroad workers whose injury claims were met with a blood test that probes their DNA had their civil rights violated, the federal government says in a lawsuit.
In the first federal case of its kind, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Friday sued Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad, saying the railroad required genetic tests for employees who filed claims for certain work-related hand injuries.
The agency asked that the railroad end the testing of workers who make claims for carpal tunnel syndrome for a chromosome that would predispose them for some forms of the syndrome. It said the employees were not asked to consent to the tests and at least one worker who refused to provide a blood sample was threatened with losing his job.
It is the first time the commission has challenged such tests, which it contends violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, Chairwoman Ida L. Castro said.
Earthquakes shake up large parts of California
BIG BEAR LAKE, Calif. (AP) -- An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.1 rattled a wide swath of Southern California on Saturday afternoon. No damage or injuries were immediately reported.
The quake struck at 1:05 p.m. and was centered 4 miles northwest of this San Bernardino County ski resort, according to preliminary estimates from the U.S. Geological Survey.
The quake was felt as far away as downtown Los Angeles, 80 miles west. "It was a good rolling earthquake," said David Delay, a Big Bear City fire engineer. "Everybody was doing the typical duck and roll."
At least eight small aftershocks followed.
The temblor was not connected to a magnitude-3.9 earthquake that rattled the desert southeast of Los Angeles about three hours earlier, said Joe Franck, a seismologist at California Institute of Technology.
Poll finds mostly support for president's initiatives
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Americans like most of President Bush's major proposals, but many want to see the federal surplus used to pay down the national debt and oppose opening protected Alaskan wilderness areas for oil exploration, a Newsweek poll finds.
The poll, released Saturday, said 73 percent of Americans like Bush's education proposals and 65 percent approve of his idea to use federal funds for services provided by religious organizations.
The president's plan to reduce federal income tax rates across the board won support from 67 percent, but 65 percent said they would prefer that the federal surplus be used to pay down the national debt and make Social Security and Medicare more financially solvent.
The poll said 52 percent of Americans want Bush to seek more limited tax reductions than his 10-year, $1.6 trillion plan.
Also, 60 percent of respondents said they approve of Bush's plan to develop a national missile defense. But only 43 percent approve of his support for oil exploration in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
The telephone poll, conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates, was based on interviews with 1,000 adults Thursday and Friday.
Town profiting from fame of 'Texas Seven' fugitives
WOODLAND PARK, Colo. (AP) -- Businesses are cashing in on the notoriety of the seven Texas fugitives who were the focus of a massive manhunt, selling pizzas in their name and auctioning a pool table at a bar they frequented.
"You couldn't buy this type of advertising," said Darby Howard, owner of Tres Hombres Tex-Mex Cantina, the bar selling the pool table.
At Fast Eddy's Pizza, customers can order the Texas Seven special, the same pie the restaurant delivered to the fugitives' motor home three times: a large pepperoni, sausage, beef, onion and green pepper pizza.
The order, with an extra helping of cheese to make the number of ingredients seven, has become a best seller, a worker said.
Howard said he won't buy advertising touting Tres Hombres as the place the convicts drank because he doesn't want to glorify them. "People did that with Jesse James, but that was 100 years (after his crimes)," he said.
Four of the fugitives were captured and one committed suicide in Woodland Park on Jan. 22. The other two surrendered in nearby Colorado Springs on Jan. 24.