Updated 

Nation roundup for July 15


More CDC lab problems detailed

NEW YORK (AP) — A second investigation has detailed additional safety problems at federal health laboratories in Atlanta, including the use of expired disinfectants and the transfer of dangerous germs in Ziploc bags.

The new findings were disclosed Monday in a congressional committee’s summary of a U.S. Department of Agriculture report on the CDC anthrax incident.

The USDA report focuses on an incident last month at a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lab that handles bioterrorism agents. The lab was supposed to completely kill anthrax samples before sending them to two other CDC labs. But the higher-security lab did not completely sterilize the bacteria.

Dozens of CDC workers were potentially exposed to dangerous anthrax bacteria. No one got sick, but a CDC internal investigation report released last week found serious safety lapses, including use of unapproved sterilization techniques and use of a potent anthrax in an experiment that didn’t require that germ to be used.

Separate from the CDC probe, investigators from the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services came to the CDC to look into what happened.

A USDA spokeswoman said her agency does not release its reports to the public. The CDC did not immediately release the report, either. But the findings were summarized in a report released by a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee, which is holding a hearing Wednesday on recent reports of CDC lab problems.

Corporate deal news lifts stocks

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks shook off last week’s doldrums and finished sharply higher Monday, driven by a round of corporate deal news and strong earnings from Citigroup.

Investors cheered AECOM Technology’s $4 billion acquisition of engineering and construction services company URS Corp., sending URS’ stock up 11.6 percent and AECOM 8.6 percent.

Citigroup rose 3 percent after the bank turned in better-than-expected results and disclosed it has agreed to pay $7 billion to settle a federal probe into its mortgage securities business. JPMorgan Chase &Co. and Goldman Sachs, due to report earnings today, also got a lift.

All told, the three major stock indexes notched their second gain in two days. That’s a turnaround from last week, when the Standard &Poor’s 500 index lost 0.9 percent, its worst showing since April.

Concern about Portugal’s Espirito Santo International, which reportedly missed a debt payment last week, harked back to issues that spawned Europe’s debt crisis.

On Monday, investors appeared to be reassured any problems would be contained.

 

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