- The Washington Times - Monday, January 11, 2010


NBC cancels Leno show

PASADENA | NBC said Sunday it decided to pull the plug on the Jay Leno experiment when some affiliate stations considered dropping the nightly prime-time show, and the network is waiting to hear if Mr. Leno and “Tonight” host Conan O’Brien accept its new late-night TV plans.

NBC Universal Television Entertainment Chairman Jeff Gaspin said that “The Jay Leno Show” at 10 p.m. EST will end with the Feb. 12 beginning of the Winter Olympics, which will air in all prime-time hours.

NBC wants to begin airing Mr. Leno’s show at 11:35 p.m. after the Olympics end Feb. 28, but with a half-hour show, Mr. Gaspin said. The plan calls for Mr. O’Brien to retain his job with “Tonight” but at the later hour of 12:05 a.m. EST, Mr. Gaspin said. Also being pushed a half-hour back would be Jimmy Fallon and his “Late Night” show.

“My goal is to keep Jay, Conan and Jimmy as our late-night lineup,” Mr. Gaspin said, adding later that they “have the weekend to think about it” and discussions with them will resume Monday.

Both Mr. Leno and Mr. O’Brien made comedic hay out of the issue last week. Mr. Leno joked in his monologue that NBC was working on a solution in which all parties would be treated unfairly, while Mr. O’Brien wisecracked that he and Mr. Leno would be thrown by the network into a pit to fight and “the one that crawls out gets to leave NBC.”


H1N1 widespread in only 1 state

ATLANTA | Swine flu infections continue to drop and only one state — Alabama — was reporting widespread cases last week.

Four states had widespread cases the previous week. The number has been dropping since late October, when nearly all states had widespread flu reports.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also reported Friday that there are no signs of seasonal flu right now, only the swine variety. But CDC officials noted there is still more flu around than normally seen at this time of year, and illnesses could increase as kids return to school after the holiday break.


Women ordered removed from prison

FRANKFORT | Kentucky’s governor has ordered some 400 female inmates removed from a corporate-run prison after allegations of sexual misconduct by male guards.

Gov. Steven L. Beshear ordered the women moved from Otter Creek Correctional Complex to a state-run prison starting by July 1.

The move comes four months after the Kentucky Department of Corrections called for security improvements at the prison in a report on 18 alleged cases of sexual misconduct by guards there.

The prison is operated by Nashville, Tenn.-based Corrections Corporation of America.

Corrections officials in Hawaii removed 165 inmates from Otter Creek in July. They cite safety concerns after female inmates from Hawaii complained that they had been sexually assaulted by male guards.


Landing-gear woes lead to bumpy flight

NEWARK | A United Airlines flight landed with part of the plane’s belly or wing striking a runway at Newark Liberty International Airport on Sunday morning after the right-side landing gear failed to deploy. All the 53 people got off the plane safely.

Flight 634 from Chicago was approaching the airport just before 9:30 a.m. when the crew reported that there might be a problem with one of its landing gears.

When the Airbus 319 jet landed, part of it apparently struck the runway, causing some damage to the right wing area, United spokeswoman Robin Urbanski said. Ms. Urbanski said it was not immediately clear what caused the malfunction.

Arlene Salac, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said the right main landing gear did not extend, though its nose and left main landing gear did, making for a bumpier-than-usual landing. United said it would refund the 48 passengers’ fares.

Newark airport was closed for about 20 minutes, said Ron Marsico, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the airport. Two of its three runways were reopened soon after the plane landed, but some arriving flights were still being delayed late Sunday afternoon.


Stephanopoulos ends ‘This Week’ run

NEW YORK | George Stephanopoulos appeared for the last time Sunday as host of ABC News’ “This Week” interview program.

Mr. Stephanopoulos, who last month began his new job co-anchoring ABC’s “Good Morning America,” had been doing double duty the past several weeks. Wrapping up his final “This Week” broadcast after seven years in the job, he thanked the audience as well as his colleagues.

ABC has said no replacement will be named right away, with a rotating group of substitutes filling in.

The next two weeks, ABC correspondents Jake Tapper and Terry Moran are scheduled to host. Both are considered candidates to land the job permanently, as are PBS’ Gwen Ifill and Ted Koppel, original anchor of ABC’s “Nightline.”


Power loss shuts Cleveland airport

CLEVELAND | Road salt accumulating on a utility pole caused a fire Sunday that knocked out electrical power to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, canceling dozens of flights and leaving airlines’ schedules uncertain for the rest of the day.

The fire on a utility pole in suburban Brook Park next to the airport caused the pole to fall on lines, interrupting power about 6:50 a.m., according to the airport and Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp. The salt combined with moisture acted as a conductor for electricity in high voltage lines, starting a fire that smoldered on the inside of the pole, according to the utility. Crews restored power about 2:30 p.m.

Continental, United, American, Southwest and US Air were among the airlines that canceled flights after the early morning outage. Almost all of the day’s normal departures of about 260 flights were canceled.

Julie King, a spokeswoman for Houston-based Continental, said that trying to ramp up again after an outage is “a very slow process, and there is still power down in some areas of operation.” She said customers were allowed to change schedules without penalty.


Probation upheld in Maserati case

GREENVILLE | A South Carolina businessman will not get prison time after pleading guilty to crashing his Maserati into a house, killing a man inside.

Prosecutors had asked a judge to reconsider his earlier decision to give John Ludwig three years of probation. Prosecutors wanted the maximum prison term of 10 years.

But Circuit Judge James Williams Jr. on Friday stood by his earlier sentence.

The 37-year-old Ludwig was originally charged with murder in the death of Frederic Bardsley. That charge was dropped as part of a plea deal.

Ludwig suffered minor injuries when his sports car smashed into the back of Bardsley’s home in April.

Prosecutors said Ludwig was racing a friend and going at least 85 mph. Ludwig’s attorneys said he swerved to avoid several deer.


Commander says security is tighter

FORT HOOD | Fort Hood’s commanding general says tighter security measures are in place in the wake of the deadly mass shooting two months ago.

Lt. Gen. Bob Cone says armed guards have been posted at the mental hospital and other places on the sprawling central Texas Army post, and that more random searches are being conducted at entrances. He says Fort Hood also has ramped up its gun-registration policy after the Nov. 5 shooting that left 13 dead and dozens injured.

Gen. Cone said that more mental health services have been made available to soldiers, their families, civilians and contractors directly affected by the shooting.

Army psychologist Maj. Nidal Hasan has been charged with murder and attempted murder in the shootings.


‘Dog chapel’ founder dies

MONTPELIER | Folk artist Stephen Huneck, whose love of dogs inspired paintings, woodcuts and a “dog chapel,” has died.

The St. Johnsbury, Vt., man died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound Thursday in Littleton, N.H. He was 60.

His wife says he was despondent after being forced to lay off employees at his Dog Mountain studio and chapel.

The studio and chapel have drawn animal lovers from all over the world. The chapel offers a place of reflection for dog owners and their pets.

Mr. Huneck was born in Sudbury, Mass. He started out by whittling wooden sculptures and later specialized in dog-themed furniture, woodcut paintings and children’s books.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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