State Dept. suspends security clearance of 5

WASHINGTON--The State Department has suspended the security clearances of five employees for violations of security policies this year, spokesman Richard Boucher said yesterday.

An additional 27 employees had their security clearances suspended for other reasons in the past 18 months or two years, Boucher said.

The disclosure followed announcement over the weekend that Martin Indyk, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, was under FBI and State Department investigation for suspected security violations. Indyk has lost his security clearance and no longer can participate in Mideast diplomacy.

Boucher said there was no indication of espionage and that "there has been no indication that any intelligence information has been compromised. This is a question of security procedures that have not been followed."

Woman who killed infant in microwave convicted

NEW KENT COUNTY, Va.--A Virginia woman who killed her newborn son last year by putting him in a microwave oven was convicted of involuntary manslaughter yesterday. Elizabeth Renee Otte, 20, entered an Alford plea, under which she did not admit guilt but acknowledged prosecutors had enough evidence to convict her.

Otte, who has epilepsy, has told authorities that she likely had a seizure early on Sept. 23, 1999, as she was feeding her 5-week old son, Joseph Lewis Martinez. As with all her seizures, she said she doesn't remember anything.She faces a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Machinists may strike at Denver's airport

DENVER --A machinists' local at Denver airport has rejected the contract offer of a United Airlines subcontractor and is getting ready for a strike that could shut the airport, a union spokesman said yesterday.

Members of International Aerospace Machinists Lodge District 142 have rejected an offer from Phelps Program Management, a United Airlines subcontractor at Denver International Airport, and were preparing to go on strike this morning, the union said.

Spokesman Frank Larkin said some 70 members were planning picket lines at the airport, where Phelps manages the automated baggage system.

Larkin said the strike had the potential to shut the airport because the union also represented about 4,500 United Airlines workers there, including ticket agents, ramp workers and mechanics, "who are prepared to honor those picket lines." United is owned by UAL. A strike in Denver, a United Airlines hub, would add to the recent woes of the airline, which still is recovering from a summer of negative publicity.

Border inspector charged with taking bribes

SAN DIEGO--A U.S. immigration inspector was charged yesterday with taking at least $90,000 from smugglers to allow drugs and illegal immigrants through his inspection lane at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Federal authorities said Jose Antonio Olvera, 36, of Chula Vista, received $2,000 to $4,000 for each load of drugs or immigrants over the two-year period he was under investigation. A federal indictment charges Olvera with bribery and conspiracy. The bribery charge carries a maximum prison sentence of 15 years. Conspiracy to smuggle marijuana can bring up to 10 years.

Compensation bill for N-plant workers stalls

WASHINGTON--Congressional negotiations on a compensation plan for thousands of people made sick by their work at nuclear-weapons plants broke down yesterday, less than a week after ill workers came to Capitol Hill and begged lawmakers to find a compromise.

House and Senate conferees negotiating differences on the Defense Authorization Act reached an impasse on the compensation issue and dropped it from their discussions.