News Archive - December 21, 2011

Wave Of Deadly Blasts Rocks Iraq's Capital

A series of blasts Thursday morning in Baghdad killed more than 60 people and injured dozens more in a seemingly coordinated attack designed to wreak havoc across the Iraqi capital. The blasts were the worst violence to hit the country in months.

Maryland To Offer Preferential Funding For Smart Growth

urban sprawl

Maryland governor Martin O'Malley has issued an executive order which will rein in funding for projects in the state that the government believes contribute to the problem of urban sprawl.

Occupy DC Keeps Message, Tweaks Tactics


While many had assumed the Occupy DC protests would have fizzled by now, some at the McPherson Square encampment are talking about escalating their tactics next year.

Following Evacuation, Metro Pulls 16 Cars For Inspections

Following the mechanical failure Tuesday that led to the evacuation of a Metro train near L'Enfant Plaza, WMATA has pulled 16 cars to conduct inspections for similar problems.

D.C. Remembers Deceased Homeless Residents

Wednesday marks the 22nd National Homeless Persons Memorial Day -- which honors the homeless residents of the District who have passed.

Maryland Board Approves Money For Slots

By a vote of 2-1, Maryland's board of public works voted to move forward with the lease for what will be the state's largest casino -- located in Anne Arundel County.

Suspect Charged In Theft Of Baby Jesus Statue

A 25-year-old Spotsylvania woman has been charged with grand larceny for her role in the theft of an 80-pound state of the baby Jesus from a Virginia shopping center.

The 'Girl In The Blue Bra'

The image has become the rallying cry for thousands of Egyptian women who marched in Cairo demanding the end of military rule. Beyond Egypt, the content of the image was recently condemned by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who said, "systematic degradation of Egyptian women dishonors the revolution, disgraces the state and its uniform, and is not worthy of a great people."

In Congress, No One's Blinked Yet

With Congress gridlocked in a partisan showdown, the clock is ticking down to a tax hike for 160 million Americans. So far, no one in Washington is showing signs of budging.

Staying In Shape On The Campaign Trail: Romney Drops A Few Pointers

The former Massachusetts governor revealed a bit about his strategies for staying in shape on the campaign trail. Pizza sans cheese and a daily run.

D.C. Shows Highest Population Growth In U.S. For Past Year

The District's population grew faster last year than any other state in the U.S. last year, according to new census data. 

Report: Canada's Less Productive, Yet Gaining On U.S. Quality Of Life

During a 14-year period, Canadians gained 5 percent on the U.S. in quality of life. This despite the fact that they were 17 percent less productive.

Ditch This Massager, If It Shows Up Under The Christmas Tree

Clothing, hair and jewelry can get tangled up in the ShoulderFlex massager's rotating parts. And that's a recipe for trouble, the Food and Drug Administration says.

Poll: Kaine, Allen In Dead Heat For Senate Seat

Voters in Virginia are far from having made up their minds between former governors Tim Kaine and George Allen in their race for Virginia's senate seat.

A Christmas Pudding In The Mail Carries A Taste Of Home

My mother always made Christmas puddings. Nowadays, my sister and brother-in-law send me one every year from England. They use a mid-Victorian recipe handed down from a Quaker. Unlike other Christmas treats, a well-made, properly sealed Christmas pudding will keep for a year, or more.

Russian Billionaire Buys Daughter $88M New York Pad

Realtors say the almost 7,000 square-foot penthouse sets the record for most expensive residential real estate transaction in New York.

National Zoo's Baby Octopus Has A Name

The National Zoo's new baby octopus got a new name yesterday, thanks to one of the zoo's young fans.

BofA's Countrywide To Pay $335 Million, Settling Lending Discrimination Case

The Justice Department alleges more than 200,000 minorities were charged higher interest rates based on the color of their skin. The agreement is the largest residential fair lending settlement in history.

Newt Gingrich Rally In Arlington Tonight

Newt Gingrich will campaign in Virginia today, and will hold a rally in Rosslyn at 7 p.m. Gingrich appears to have pulled ahead of Mitt Romney among Virginia Republicans, according to a new poll released today.

EPA Issues Rule Limiting Arsenic, Mercury Emissions From Power Plants

The national standards are the first applied to the country's oldest and dirtiest power plants. Power companies have opposed the standards saying the demands are too costly and the EPA is not giving enough time to comply.

Lack Of Autopsies After Elderly Die Conceals Health Flaws

Many jurisdictions have stopped doing autopsies on people who died over the age of 60, unless it was obvious that a violent death occurred. A lack of resources, both financial and staffing, is often blamed.

For First Time, Women Share 'First Kiss' At A Navy Homecoming

It's tradition that one sailor gets the honor to have the "first kiss" with a loved one when a Navy ship arrives home. The Navy says today was the first time a same-sex couple had the opportunity.

Iraqi Prime Minister Urges Kurds To Turn Over Vice President

Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi sought refuge in the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan after a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Virginia Committee Seeks Changes To Assisted Living Laws

A Virginia General Ssembly internal watchdog group is calling for osme changes to laws governing funding for senior citizen assisted living programs.

FAA Issues New Rules Aimed At Keeping Tired Pilots Out Of Cockpits

Among the changes: Pilots must have more time off and "a 10-hour minimum rest period" prior to going on duty.

White House: It's Time For Killing In Syria To Stop

In a strident statement, the U.S. warned Syria about further repercussions if it continued its assault on protesters. France called on a "firm" U.N. resolution that calls for an end to violence.

What A Global Flavor Map Can Tell Us About How We Pair Foods

If you think all American food tastes alike, you may be on to something. A chemical analysis of flavors around the world found that Americans cook with flavors that are chemically similar, like eggs, milk, and vanilla, while East Asians go for chemical contrast. Think shrimp and lemon. Is Sending Surfers To Sites And Stories He Wouldn't Like

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich's official campaign website — at — is working fine. But is directing surfers to stories and other sites that don't put him in the best light.

2011 Has Been A Rough Year For Dictators

The Arab uprisings and the death of North Korea's Kim Jong Il may be unrelated, but both contributed to the dramatic drop in longtime dictators this year, which continued a long-term trend. In the era of global and social media, it's harder for autocrats to keep their citizens isolated and themselves in power.

After 25 Years In Woman's Stomach, A Pen Still Writes

A British woman who saw a spot on a tonsil tried to get a better look using a pen and a mirror. She slipped and the pen went down her throat. Nobody believed her. Now that the pen has been removed they do.

City Hopes 'Girl With Dragon Tattoo' Will Save Lincoln Theatre

City officials are betting on the hit movie The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo to revive the foundering Lincoln Theatre on U Street NW.

Criminal Charges For English Soccer Star John Terry Over Alleged Racial Abuse

Terry, who plays for Chelsea in the English Premier League and is captain of England's national team, denies he verbally abused an opponent with racist words.

5 Things You May Not Know About Jon Huntsman

The presidential candidate has been an ambassador, a governor and a business executive. But he also had an unusual academic career for a presidential candidate. And some of his former endeavors might surprise you.

Patients Want To Read Doctors' Notes, But Many Doctors Balk

Patients have the legal right to see their doctor's notes, but actually getting them can be slow and expensive. Two new surveys say patients overwhelmingly want to read the notes. But doctors are much more dubious about the benefits of giving patients a window into their thoughts.

Sales Of Existing Homes Rose In November; Previous Years Revised Down

While it says sales of existing homes rose 4 percent in November from October, the National Association of Realtors also reported today that there were about 2.9 million fewer homes sold from the start of 2007 through the end of 2010 than thought.

South Dakota Buffalo Farmers Relish Bison Meat Boom

The buffalo industry is exploding as more consumers discover the health and environmental benefits of buying the meat. Bison industry officials want cattle ranchers to switch to buffalo to help fill demand. But it's not an easy sell.

Army Charges 8 Soldiers In Connection With Private's Death In Afghanistan

Pvt. Danny Chen's death in October was first said to have been a suicide. But there have been allegations that he was taunted and abused by other soldiers before his death.

Top Stories: Earth-Size Planets, Partisan Brawl, Tired Pilots

Also: Interstates reopen in the Great Plains states after blizzard; defense starts in WikiLeaks hearing; FAA to issue new rules aimed at preventing pilot fatigue.

Taking Nothing For Granted, Romney Launches N.H. Bus Tour

Somehow there are still New Hampshire voters who remain undecided about former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney — despite the fact that he's practically camped out in their living rooms for the last four years.

Accused Of Sexually Abusing Children Decades Ago, Sportswriter Retires

Bill Conlin, a Philadelphia Daily News sportswriter for 46 years, retired after three women and a man came forward to accuse him of molesting them in the 1970s. His lawyer says he wants to "vindicate his name."

Mood In North Korean Capital Is 'Subdued But Calm,' U.K. Diplomat Says

While North Korea's official news agency has been reporting about widespread grief following the death of Kim Jong Il, the first descriptions from a foreign diplomat offer a slightly different view.