REGIONAL BRIEFING

REGIONAL BRIEFING

Tai Shan, age 21/2 and now weighing 157 pounds, underwent his first comprehensive physical exam at the National Zoo yesterday. The giant panda, shown in September, was anesthetized for the procedure. Veterinarians, including a dentist and a cardiologist, declared him in to be excellent health.
Tai Shan, age 21/2 and now weighing 157 pounds, underwent his first comprehensive physical exam at the National Zoo yesterday. The giant panda, shown in September, was anesthetized for the procedure. Veterinarians, including a dentist and a cardiologist, declared him in to be excellent health. (By Mehgan Murphy -- National Zoo)
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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

POPE'S VISIT

Catholic U. Students Design Altar

Two Catholic University graduate students won a competition to design the altar and other pieces to be used by Pope Benedict XVI when he celebrates Mass on April 17 at the new Nationals ballpark, university officials announced yesterday.

Twenty-one teams of students entered the university's competition to design the altar, pulpit, lectern and chair to be used in the Mass. Tens of thousands of people are expected to attend the service.

The design, by John-Paul Mikolajczyk, 23, of Staten Island, N.Y., and Ryan Mullen, 24, of Manchester, N.H., uses a pattern of overlapping arches that is repeated on all the pieces, including the altar's base. The students, master's degree candidates at Catholic University's School of Architecture and Planning, said they were inspired by time they spent at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, which is adjacent to the campus, according to the university's public affairs office.

The chair has a very tall back with the papal coat of arms. The front of the pulpit, from where the pope will read, features images from the Bible.

The competition was jointly sponsored by the school and the Archdiocese of Washington.

-- Michelle Boorstein

white house

Man Held in Alleged Bush Threat

The Secret Service arrested a man outside the White House yesterday who allegedly made a threat against President Bush. Authorities also closed off the area to investigate a suspicious package he carried, an official said.

Aleksandar Aleksov, 28, was detained about 2 p.m. after Secret Service personnel heard him make the comment, said Eric Zahren, a spokesman for the agency. He said he did not know the nature of the threat. It was unclear where Aleksov lives or what his nationality is, the spokesman said.


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