- The Washington Times - Monday, May 4, 2009


Caltech telescope to be removed

HONOLULU | A Mauna Kea telescope will be taken down from its near-summit home within the next decade, ending more than 30 years of astronomical observations.

The California Institute of Technology will begin decommissioning the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory in 2016.

The university plans to return the site to its natural state by 2018.

The 10-meter radio telescope will be replaced by a 25-meter telescope in the high Andes region of northern Chile.

The new observatory, called the Cornell Caltech Atacama Telescope, will open before the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory shuts down.

Caltech operates the observatory under a National Science Foundation grant, partnering with other universities, including the University of Hawaii.

It was built in 1986.


Court to weigh jail conversations

BOSTON | The highest court in Massachusetts will hear arguments this week on whether prosecutors can use recorded jailhouse phone conversations of a teenager charged in the killing of a student at a Sudbury high school.

Attorneys for John Odgren say he was legally insane when he fatally stabbed 15-year-old James Alenson at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School in January 2007.

A judge ruled last year that prosecutors improperly obtained more than 30 hours of Mr. Odgren’s jailhouse conversations.

Prosecutors say they obtained the recordings lawfully. They want to play the recordings at Mr. Odgren’s trial because they think the conversations show a lucid boy who was not in the throes of mental illness.

The Supreme Judicial Court will hear prosecutors’ appeal Monday.


Motorcycle gang probed in deaths

ST. LOUIS | Law enforcement officers are investigating a motorcycle gang called the Invaders in connection with the 2007 deaths of two St. Louis-area men and the disappearance of the third.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Sunday that court documents showed that for more than a year investigators have suspected members of the gang of killing Randy Greenman, 39, and George Whitter, 36.

The two vanished in September 2007, and their mutilated bodies were found weeks later dumped in two locations in Missouri and Illinois.

A motive for the killings is not known, and the two men were not thought to be gang members.

The newspaper also disclosed a Drug Enforcement Administration affidavit accusing two Invaders of the 2007 presumed killing of a 61-year-old gang member, possibly for cooperating with authorities.


Buffett: Banks not too big to fail

OMAHA | Billionaire Warren Buffett said Sunday that most of the banks the U.S. government is evaluating with stress tests are not too big to fail.

Mr. Buffett said he’s not sure how the government will handle the situation when the results of the stress tests are released, but he doesn’t think the government should rule out the failure of most of the banks.

Mr. Buffett said all but the four biggest banks the government is examining could be sold and should not be considered too big to fail.

Mr. Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway Vice Chairman Charlie Munger held a news conference Sunday, a day after 35,000 attended the company’s annual meeting.


Oldest nuclear plant resumes operations

LACEY TOWNSHIP | Normal operations have resumed at the nation’s oldest nuclear power plant a week after it was shut down because of a failed transformer.

Officials at the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station in New Jersey manually stopped its reactor without incident April 25. Crews repaired the transformer and modified its power supply.

Plant spokesman David Benson said the outage was extended so crews could further prepare the plant for summer operations.

The crews also found and stopped two small leaks in underground pipes thought to be the source of a weak radioactive substance recently detected on the plant’s property in Lacey Township, about 60 miles east of Philadelphia and 75 miles south of New York City. They replaced the pipes.

Oyster Creek opened in December 1969. It generates enough electricity to power 600,000 homes a year.


Search for teen turns up no clues

GEORGETOWN | A South Carolina sheriff said officers are on the lookout for a missing 17-year-old New York girl south of Myrtle Beach - the last place her cell phone gave off a signal.

Georgetown County Sheriff Lane Cribb said Saturday that neither Brittanee Drexel nor her cell phone has been found. Searchers have spent the past two days using dogs, helicopters, boats and foot patrols to search for the girl.

Authorities said they concentrated their search about 35 miles south of Myrtle Beach along the South Santee River, but they turned up nothing.

Police said the teen was last seen after she left a group of friends who had traveled to South Carolina from Rochester, N.Y.

Miss Drexel’s mother said her impending divorce has caused her daughter to be depressed.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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