- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 14, 2009



Hopkins halts hiring as economy suffers

Johns Hopkins University said it is freezing hiring and eliminating overtime as it deals with the economic downturn.

In an e-mail sent to faculty, students and staff on Friday, President William R. Brody said the university’s nearly $3 billion endowment has shrunk 20 percent and university revenues in fiscal 2010 and 2011 will total $100 million below previous estimates.

The hiring freeze begins immediately and is effective through June 30, 2010, the end of the next fiscal year.

The university is not alone in dealing with the difficult economy. Harvard has cut travel, hiring and visiting faculty, and losses in its endowment, which was nearly $37 billion last summer, could exceed $10 billion.


Official eyes reversal of LNG plant OK

Maryland’s attorney general has asked a federal agency to rescind its approval of a liquefied natural gas plant at Sparrows Point near Baltimore.

Doug Gansler wants a new hearing before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on the $400 million terminal and 88-mile pipeline that would carry the fuel through Harford County and into Southern Pennsylvania.

Environmental reviews are under way and the decision violates seven federal statutes, he said. The commission’s decision was “hasty” and in violation of environmental laws, he said.

The commission approved the project on Jan. 15.


Rwandan prosecutor wants teacher back

Rwanda’s prosecutor general is calling for the swift extradition of a Maryland professor accused of genocide, but that’s unlikely because the United States does not have an agreement to send suspects there.

Goucher College suspended Leopold Munyakazi after officials at the college north of Baltimore learned he’d been indicted on genocide charges in his home country.

U.S. immigration officials arrested Mr. Munyakazi last week for being in the United States illegally.

Rwandan Prosecutor General Martin Ngoga issued a statement Friday, calling for Mr. Munyakazi’s extradition. He also said Mr. Munyakazi’s claims of being persecuted by the Rwandan government are untrue.

Mr. Munyakazi denies he participated in genocide.

More than a half-million ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed in 1994 in Rwanda.


Board OKs policies to cut textbook costs

Members of the University System of Maryland Board of Regents have unanimously approved a policy that could lower the cost of textbooks for students at state universities.

Starting with the fall semester, professors will be required to make their book lists available to students months ahead of the start of classes so students can do some comparison shopping.

Professors are also being encouraged to use the same books for more than one semester so students can find used versions at lower prices.

The policies could mean a savings for students of 20 percent to 30 percent, authorities said.


Cell phone signal used to find kayaker

Anne Arundel County Fire Chief John Robert Ray is calling the rescue of a kayaker from Galesville “an amazing success story” for emergency responders.

The man, 28, was thrown from his kayak by high winds Thursday and managed to swim in the frigid waters of the Chesapeake Bay to dry land north of Galesville, the fire department said.

The man was able to call 911, but had no idea where he was. Dispatchers were able to pinpoint his location by using advanced location technology to identify the origin of his cell phone signal, authorities said. A state police helicopter found the spot and directed responders in 4-wheel drive vehicles to help the man.

The man was treated by firefighters for hypothermia and was flown to the Prince George’s Trauma Center.



Transportation plan cut by $2 billion

Virginia’s six-year transportation plan is $2 billion lighter following a meeting of the Commonwealth Transportation Board.

The downshift reflects an expected $2.6 billion funding shortfall through 2014. The board acted Friday in a rare special meeting to ensure the list of ready projects will qualify for funding under the federal stimulus package.

The revision now commits $6 billion for highway construction, down from just under $8 billion that had previously been approved. More than 800 highway programs statewide will feel the pinch from the cut.

Virginia transportation officials have said previously the smaller six-year plan will delay new highway construction and other projects.

The action Friday kept intact $2.9 billion for rail and transit spending.


GOP chief won’t seek re-election to House

The Republican Party of Virginia chairman, Delegate Jeff Frederick, said Friday he will not seek a fourth term in the House of Delegates, but he has a candidate in mind to replace him - his wife, Amy.

Mr. Frederick e-mailed supporters just after midnight to announce he would not seek re-election representing eastern Prince William County.

He said his wife has formed an exploratory Web site, www.voteAmy.com, to decide whether to run for his seat.

Mr. Frederick was elected chairman of the state party last summer. He promised then to not seek re-election.

All 100 House of Delegates seats are on the ballot this November.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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