Panda's Name to Be Revealed Monday
The National Zoo will announce the name of its giant panda cub Monday at a public ceremony at the Panda House attended by Smithsonian Institution and Chinese officials. The event, which will start at 8:15 a.m., will include entertainment by two traditional Chinese dance troupes, martial arts performances and a variety of activities for children. The cub, however, will not join in the festivities: He will not go on public view until December, at the earliest.
The cub, born July 9, will be 100 days old Monday. Chinese custom dictates a 100-day waiting period before naming cubs, when their survival is believed assured. This is the zoo's first surviving cub after more than three decades of trying to breed the endangered species.
More than 202,000 votes were cast in the zoo's online naming contest, with people picking their favorite name from a list of five choices. Votes came from nearly a dozen countries, including New Zealand and Japan. The winner in the zoo's random drawing among voters for a trip to the District to see the pandas also will be announced Monday.
Washington Monument Evacuated Again
For the second time in a week, the Washington Monument was evacuated yesterday after a bomb threat, authorities said. Nothing was found, and no one was hurt.
U.S. Park Police officers evacuated the structure at 2:30 p.m. and reopened it an hour later. No streets were closed. Another bomb threat led to a similar evacuation last Friday. Police said the incidents did not appear to be related.
Orange Aims to Ensure D.C. Owner of Nats
D.C. Council member Vincent B. Orange Sr. said yesterday that he will introduce legislation that would bar city officials from signing a lease agreement with Major League Baseball for a new stadium until baseball selects an owner for the Washington Nationals.
Baseball officials have said they will not name an owner until after the lease -- which sets the terms by which the Nationals will rent the new stadium -- is finalized. But Orange (D-Ward 5) said the city should make sure that baseball picks an owner with strong local ties before agreeing to a lease.
In a letter to baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, Orange said that "an owner of the Washington Nationals other than a District of Columbia resident . . . is unacceptable." Orange, head of the council's Committee on Government Operations, set an oversight hearing on baseball matters for Oct. 31 and said he will introduce legislation at the council's Nov. 1 meeting.
Driver Who Struck Arundel Boy Is Sought
Police in Anne Arundel County were searching yesterday for a driver who struck a 10-year-old boy on a bicycle in Severna Park on Wednesday evening.
The driver, described as a woman in her 30s or 40s, struck Patrick A. Montgomery of Pasadena as he rode through a stop sign on Knollwood Road and into the path of her blue SUV on Douglas Road. After knocking him from his bike, the woman helped the boy to the side of the road and then drove off, police said.
The boy was taken to Johns Hopkins Children's Center, where he was treated and released. Police are asking anyone with information to call 410-222-8610.
Immigrants Plan Suit Over Medicaid Cuts
Lawyers for a 7-year-old boy with cancer and five other legal immigrants in Prince George's County said they plan to sue the State of Maryland as early as Monday for denying them health coverage under Medicaid, the state insurance program for the poor.
Citing strains on the program, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) cut $7 million from the state budget this year for coverage of newly arrived legal immigrant children and pregnant women.
Regan Bailey, a lawyer from Maryland's Legal Aid Bureau, which is representing the immigrants, said the action was discriminatory and violated the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution. "If any of these kids were U.S. citizens, they'd still get coverage," said Bailey, who said the plaintiffs will seek an injunction restoring their coverage.
Ehrlich's office referred calls to the Attorney General's Office, which declined to comment.
Pr. George's Leaders Postpone China Trip
Prince George's County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D) has decided to postpone a planned 10-day visit to China next week.
Johnson and a delegation of about 25 county employees, lawmakers and business owners that included council member Thomas R. Hendershot (D-New Carrollton) were scheduled to leave Thursday.
John Erzen, a spokesman for Johnson, said early yesterday that Johnson delayed the trip because of concerns about the deadly avian flu. Later Erzen said the delay was the result of scheduling conflicts.
"It wasn't so much fear of the disease," Hendershot said, "but concern that we could get stuck over there longer if something arose in the vicinity that we were in."
The delegation was scheduled to visit Shandong province as well as Beijing and Shanghai with hopes of Prince George's companies winning contracts for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
The China trip would have been Johnson's second foreign cultural and economic mission since taking office. Earlier this year, Johnson and eight county employees went on a 10-day excursion to Gambia and Senegal.
National Honor for Stuart High Principal
Mel Riddile, principal of J.E.B. Stuart High School, has been named high school principal of the year by MetLife and the National Association of Secondary School Principals.
Riddile, principal at Stuart since 1997, was credited with implementing a modified school calendar and starting the International Baccalaureate program at the school, in the Falls Church area.
He also established a mandatory after-school tutoring program for failing students and has provided extensive development training for faculty members.
Two-thirds of Stuart's students are second language learners from more than 70 countries; half are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches, according to a news release.
"They call and they call and they call. . . . I don't know how much you want from me. I already gave you one arm and a part of a leg.
-- Injured soldier Robert Loria, who started receiving calls from a collection agency after being hit with $6,200 in military debt. -- A1
Compiled from reports by staff writers Karlyn Barker, Nia-Malika Henderson, Diane Mattingly, David Nakamura, Eric Rich, John Wagner, Ovetta Wiggins and Del Quentin Wilber.