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Akon show canceled after collapse hurts 3

ATLANTA - Three workers were hurt when a stage being built for a show featuring R&B singer Akon collapsed at Emory University on Thursday. The show was called off.

School spokeswoman Nancy Seideman says that the workers, who were part of the crew putting up the outdoor stage at the college's Clairmont campus, were injured when a canopy collapsed about 5:15 p.m.

Ms. Seideman did not know the extent of their injuries.

The workers were taken to local hospitals to be examined.

It is not known whether the show, sponsored by the Student Programming Council, will be rescheduled.

Atlanta will not buy water from Macon

ATLANTA - Atlanta officials say they have no immediate plans to take up Macon on its offer to sell water to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Atlanta spokeswoman Beverly Isom says Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin had told Macon Mayor C. Jack Ellis thanks but no thanks.

Mr. Ellis had suggested that Macon could truck in water with the help of volunteer drivers, if needed. He identified Atlanta's airport as a possible recipient because of its proximity to Macon and its role as an economic engine for Georgia.

Ms. Isom says buying water from Macon could be considered as an option at some point.

Jury awards $415,000 to fired whistleblowers

ATHENS - A federal jury has awarded $415,000 to two former poultry plant employees who were fired for complaining about fraud, hiring discrimination and other abuses by supervisors.

The U.S. District Court jury found that ConAgra Poultry Co. - later bought by Pilgrim's Pride Corp. - fired the women in September 2003 after they blew the whistle on an assistant to the human resources manager, who made a fake Social Security card for an illegal immigrant who worked a side job for the plant's general manager.

The panel also found that the manager's assistant authorized falsified insurance coverage so another employee could claim his sister and nephew - also illegal immigrants - as dependents on his health plan.

In a decision this week, the jury awarded Scarlet Reyna and Maria Ortega a combined $415,000 for lost wages and benefits, and emotional pain and mental anguish.

They worked in the human resources department of the poultry plant in northern Clarke County.

The case was among the first of its kind to go to trial since Congress passed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, which provides protection for whistle-blowers, plaintiffs' attorney, John F. Beasley Jr. said.

"Ms. Reyna and Ms. Ortega are very courageous women," Mr. Beasley said Thursday.

- Edited from wire reports


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