The British press isn't sure how to handle what may or may not be an April Fool's hoax.

Britain's National Archives on Thursday released details of an old Ministry of Defense project involving live chickens and radiological weapons.

Apparently, the captured cluckers, with a bodily "heat output of the order of 1,000 BTU [British Thermal Units] per bird per day," were considered ideal for keeping plutonium land mines warm, according to the 1957 report.

British military planners were worried that the delicate mechanisms of the mines, intended to stop invading Soviet armies, would freeze in the chilly German winter.

"It's a genuine story," Robert Smith, head of press and publicity at The National Archives, told The Associated Press.

Andy Oppenheimer, co-editor of Jane's World Armies (search), an authoritative military guide, wasn't buying it.

"I have a feeling that it's an April Fool," he said, adding there were other ways to keep mines warm.

The respected Times of London treated the story with kid gloves, asking, "Is today the day to reveal the chicken-powered nuke?" while at the same time putting the story on the front page.

Tom O'Leary, head of education and interpretation at the National Archives, insisted the document was authentic.

"It's not the kind of thing the civil service does," he pointed out, "to set up an April Fool's joke."

Drunk Sues Airline for Serving Him Liquor

BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. (AP) — A West Virginia man who fell down an escalator at an airport sued US Airways, saying the airline didn't warn him about the adverse affects of drinking alcohol on a plane.

Floyd W. Shuler, 61, filed the lawsuit against Virginia-based US Airways Inc., in Circuit Court in Fort Myers.

Shuler, who has lived part-time on Marco Island, said in the suit that US Airways was negligent by failing to warn him the effects of alcohol are greater at night on airline passengers.

The suit also alleges that the company did not properly maintain the escalator at Southwest Florida International Airport (search) when he fell down it on Aug. 28, 1999.

The suit seeks damages in excess of $15,000.

Amy Kudwa, a spokeswoman for US Airways, declined to comment to the Naples Daily News for Wednesday editions.

— Thanks to Out There readers Scott T. and Paul H.

Lit Cigarette Ends Politician's Career Hopes

DUBLIN, Ireland (AP) — Ireland's sweeping new ban on workplace smoking claimed its first casualty Thursday — a high-profile lawmaker who lost his political post after lighting up in the parliamentary bar.

John Deasy, who was supposed to lead the Fine Gael (search) party's official support for the ban, was punished after smoking at least three cigarettes Tuesday night in the bar beside the debating chamber.

Fellow lawmakers said Deasy had tried to open a locked emergency door into an outdoor courtyard. When the bar staff wouldn't let him out, he began smoking indoors in violation of the ban.

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny said he had no choice but to dismiss Deasy from his justice post in the "shadow cabinet" — the opposition party's leadership.

"Politicians must lead by example. No man, no woman, and no politician is above the law," Kenny said.

Kenny said Deasy may also face prosecution. The ban specifies a maximum $3,700 fine for anyone who smokes in an enclosed workplace.

Deasy, 35, declined to comment. He will remain a lawmaker representing Waterford in southeast Ireland.

Low-Carb, High-Protein, Little Movement

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The popularity of low-carb diets may be changing the marketing demographics for companies that sell fiber laxatives.

Some people on the Atkins and South Beach diets suffer from irregularity because they eat more meats and cheeses and don't replace the fiber that was once part of their diet.

GlaxoSmithKline's new ad campaign for Citrucel caplets offers a "zero-carb solution to a low-carb problem."

Proctor and Gamble fired back with ads that promise that Metamucil allows users to "Stay regular. The zero net carb way."

The two products are just a portion of the $350 million laxatives market. But marketing experts say companies can win customers for life if they get them first.

The Citrucel brand manager said the low-carb dieters are potentially a significant source of customers. He said about 20 percent of the population is now on a low-carb diet — and about one-third of them experience changes in regularity. That's 13 million customers.

Forced to Put Clothes On After 100 Years

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Nude women have been on the menu at The Sutler for years, but the Nashville pub covered up the 19th-century Victorian photos after being warned they might be too racy for state law.

The Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission (search) decided Wednesday that only one photo showing a woman below the waist was off-limits, but by then every nipple on the menus had been covered in black marker.

The pub has displayed the artistic antique photos for many years and had never attracted notice of state regulators until recently.

Commission agents had told the pub owner that some of the photos, thought to be from the mid-1800s, might run afoul of state laws that limit sexually explicit material or performances where alcohol is served.

The law bans such things as displays of sexual intercourse and nude wait staff, as well as "scenes wherein artificial devices or inanimate objects are employed to depict, or drawings employed to portray, any of the prohibited activities."

"The underlying issue is whether the pictures violate the statute," said Danielle Elks, executive director of the Alcoholic Beverage Commission. "It is a very broad statute."

Elks said a misunderstanding led The Sutler to black out its menus before the commission made its decision.

"It was never the intent of the agency to cite [the pub], and the agency did not threaten them," she said.

The owner of The Sutler, Johnny Potts, said he did not want to talk about the issue.

Please Don't Tell Anyone I Stole This Car

MONTEREY, Tenn. (AP) — Who says men never stop to ask for directions? Jason Daniel Waddell was in jail Wednesday after he did — and told the person who helped him that he was driving a stolen car.

Authorities said Waddell, 26, of North East, Md., stopped a woman in an apartment complex Tuesday to ask for directions to Interstate 40.

The woman called Monterey police a few minutes after the driver confided he was in a stolen vehicle, Sgt. Tim Murphy said.

Waddell, who authorities say stole $200 from a sandwich shop earlier in the night, was caught about an hour later, 15 miles away and still on a state highway. He also is charged with holding up a sandwich shop and taking $200.

Murphy said leaving Monterey, population 2,717, shouldn't have been hard.

"He was less than 200 yards from the I-40 ramp when he robbed the store," Murphy said. "I think that he panicked when he left ... and turned right into a residential neighborhood."

Waddell was taken to the county jail on charges of aggravated robbery and property theft.

Compiled by's Paul Wagenseil.

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