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News In Brief - October 11, 2008

Pro-business group makes endorsements

Three Republican candidates running for the state Legislature picked up endorsements this week from a pro-business group.

The National Federation of Independent Business, or NFIB, announced its support for incumbent Gary Simrill in House District 49, candidate Mick Mulvaney in Senate District 16 and candidate Deborah Long in House District 45. Each owns or operates businesses.

In an announcement, NFIB says it favors candidates in both parties who support workers' compensation reform, affordable health care and less government regulation. The group endorsed seven Senate candidates and more than a dozen House candidates from around South Carolina.

Labor Dept. investigates S.C. chicken plant

COLUMBIA -- A South Carolina chicken processing plant is under federal investigation for possible child labor violations after the arrests of suspected illegal immigrants during a raid, including six juveniles, a U.S. Labor Department spokesman said Friday.

Federal agents swept through the House of Raeford's Columbia Farms plant in Greenville on Tuesday during a shift change.

Of the 331 detained, three were juveniles from Mexico and three from Guatemala, officials said.

Two were released to their caregivers. Agents are working with the Mexican and Guatemalan consulates to reunite the other four with their families there, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in a news release.

Five of the juveniles were 16 years old, and one was 15 years old, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin McDonald. Federal prosecutors are waiting on the Labor Department to conclude its investigation before deciding possible charges.

"Until we get the report back, I don't want to speculate," said McDonald, who expected the report soon.

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