- The Washington Times - Friday, February 9, 2007

Harvard to name female president

BOSTON — Harvard University was expected to appoint its first female president this weekend, signaling a new direction under the leadership of a career academic at the oldest U.S. institute of higher learning.

University administrator Drew Gilpin Faust, 59, a historian who has never led a large institution, will be named the university’s 28th president, according to reports yesterday in the Harvard Crimson and Boston Globe.

Harvard spokesman John Longbrake said the university would not “discuss the search while the process is ongoing.”

The Globe, citing unidentified sources, said Harvard would announce the appointment tomorrow.

Popular vote push defeated in 2 states

BISMARCK, N.D. — A movement to essentially dump the Electoral College and give the presidency to the winner of the nationwide popular vote has been defeated in North Dakota and Montana, after opponents said it would eliminate any influence states may have in presidential contests.

Thursday’s votes represented the first legislative setbacks this year for the National Popular Vote plan, spokeswoman Breeanna Mierop said. It is a proposed agreement among states to cast their electoral votes for the presidential candidate who wins the popular vote.

North Dakota’s House voted 60-31 Thursday to defeat the plan. In the Montana Senate, it lost 30-20.

National Popular Vote supporters say they have legislative sponsors in 46 states, and have introduced legislation in 22. The Colorado Senate approved the measure last month. The California Legislature endorsed the agreement last year, but Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed it.

S.D. senator working from hospital

Sen. Tim Johnson is reading press clippings and starting to do some office work from the hospital, almost two months after suffering a life-threatening brain hemorrhage.

“At this point, he has requested more contact with office and is looking for updates from staff,” his office said yesterday.

Spokeswoman Julianne Fisher said the South Dakota Democrat is starting slowly.

Mr. Johnson has been undergoing physical, occupational and speech therapy since he was transferred to rehabilitation from intensive care at George Washington University Hospital last month. He recently began to read and speak in full sentences, according to statements from his doctors.

Wiesel accosted at peace forum

SAN FRANCISCO — Nobel laureate and Holocaust scholar Elie Wiesel was dragged from an elevator and roughed up during a peace conference at a San Francisco hotel last week, police said yesterday. The author was not injured.

The assailant approached Mr. Wiesel in an elevator Feb. 1 at the Argent Hotel and requested an interview, police Sgt. Neville Gittens said.

When Mr. Wiesel consented to talk in the hotel’s lobby, the man insisted it be done in a hotel room and dragged the 78-year-old off the elevator on the sixth floor, Sgt. Gittens said.

The assailant fled after Mr. Wiesel began to scream, and Mr. Wiesel went to the lobby and called police.

Sgt. Gittens said police are investigating the incident.

Executioner had no medical training

TAMPA, Fla. — The lead executioner of a convicted killer who took twice the normal time to die never received any medical training, the executioner told a panel reviewing Florida’s lethal injection procedures yesterday.

“I have no medical training and no qualifications,” said the executioner, testifying about the Dec. 13 lethal injection of Angel Nieves Diaz, which took 34 minutes and required a rare second dose of lethal chemicals.

After the botched execution, then-Gov. Jeb Bush halted executions in the state and created the panel to examine whether improvements can be made to the way lethal injections are administered. The panel’s report is due to be sent to Gov. Charlie Crist by March 1.

The executioner testified by phone and answered questions with what sounded like a muffled male voice to guard his identity.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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