USA

Samuel (Sandy) Berger, National Security Adviser in the Clinton administration, is the subject of a criminal investigation involving the disappearance of highly classified terrorism documents from the National Archives, the Associated Press reported late Monday. Although Berger earlier voluntarily returned some sensitive documents he claims to have carelessly removed, drafts of a sensitive after-action report about the Clinton administration's handling of Al Qaeda threats during the December 1999 millenium celebration are still missing, officials and lawyers said. Berger said he regretted his "sloppiness" in handling such materials, including his own handwritten notes, but "to my knowledge" had turned over every document requested by the special Sept. 11 commission, "except for a few ... that I apparently had accidentally discarded." The commission is expected to submit its final report Thursday.

Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun, the US Marine involved in a mysterious kidnapping episode in the Middle East, met with reporters Monday outside a base in Quantico, Va., and denied he was a deserter. "Once a Marine, always a Marine," he said, attempting to quell suspicions about why he failed to report for duty in Iraq June 20 and later was shown on videotape supposedly being held by terrorist kidnappers in his native Lebanon. On July 8 he turned up unharmed at the US Embassy in Beirut. The Naval Criminal Investigative Service is not expected to question Hassoun until his repatriation is complete, the Marines said.

Frustrated that so few of the people it represents have received payments in a 1999 landmark $2.3 billion civil rights settlement, the National Black Farmers Association turned to Congress Monday, asking Democratic lawmakers to introduce legislation to help them. So far, the Department of Agriculture has turned down the applications of 82,000 of 94,000 black farmers who've sought compensatory payments of $50,000 or more for decades of racial discrimination, in which they were shut out of billlions in federal subsidies. The department claims the applicants did not provide sufficient documentation and missed deadlines.

A poultry business that supplies birds to KFC said Monday it will reopen an investigation into claims of cruelty at its Pilgrim's Pride processing plant in Moorefield, W. Va. The announcement came after a videotape of chickens being kicked and stomped by employees was shown to executives of KFC's parent company, Yum! Brands. The tape was shot by an investigator for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

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