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News Briefs

Web Site Recovers Edited Portions Of Justice Report

THE NEW YORK TIMES -- WASHINGTON

An internal report that harshly criticized the Justice Department’s diversity efforts was edited so heavily when it was posted on the department’s Web site two weeks ago that half of its 186 pages, including the summary, were blacked out.

The censored passages, electronically recovered by a self-described “information archaeologist” in Tucson, Ariz., portrayed the department’s record on diversity as seriously flawed, specifically in the hiring, promotion and retention of minority lawyers.

The unedited report, completed in June 2002 by the consulting firm KPMG, found that minority employees at the department, which is responsible for enforcing the country’s civil rights laws, perceive their own workplace as biased and unfair.

Among the censored findings: “The department does face significant diversity issues. Whites and minorities, as well as men and women perceive differences in many aspects of the work climate. For example, minorities are significantly more likely than whites to cite stereotyping, harassment and racial tension as characteristics of the work climate. Many of these differences are also present between men and women, although to a lesser extent.”

North Korea Ready to Resume Talks on Nuclear Program

THE NEW YORK TIMES -- BEIJING

North Korea said on Thursday that it was ready to enter a new round of negotiations about its nuclear weapons program with the United States, China, and other countries in the region. The announcement suggests that President Bush’s offer last week to discuss a security guarantee may have been enough to revive the on-again, off-again dialogue with North Korea.

North Korea agreed “in principle” to new talks, according to Chinese Central Television’s main news broadcast, which announced the results of a two-day visit to Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital, by a top-level Chinese delegation.

After Thursday’s announcement by the Chinese, the official North Korean news agency issued a more qualified endorsement of talks, expressing a willingness to take part “if they provide a process of putting into practice the proposal for a package solution based on the principle of simultaneous actions.”

FDA Declares Food From Cloned Animals Safe

THE NEW YORK TIMES

Milk and meat from cloned animals are safe to eat, the Food and Drug Administration has tentatively concluded, a finding that could eventually clear the way for such products to reach supermarket shelves and for cloning to be widely used to breed livestock.

The agency’s conclusions are being released on Friday in advance of a public meeting on the issue Tuesday in Rockville, Md. Agency officials said that after receiving public comments, they hope by late next spring to outline their views on how, if at all, cloning would be regulated, including whether food from cloned animals should be labeled.

But if the preliminary conclusion stands, labeling would not be needed and there would be little regulation, Stephen Sundlof, director of the agency’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, said in an interview.

“There appears to be few if any safety concerns,” Sundlof said. He added, “If we consider them materially the same as traditional foods, the role for the FDA would be minimal.”