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Posted at 8:40 AM ET, 12/11/2009

Friday morning roundup

By Washington Post editors

Details continue to surface in the case of the five Northern Virginia men arrested in Pakistan. The Post reports the men likely traveled there to work with jihadists groups with the goal of fighting against U.S. troops in Afghanistan. The U.S. government is looking into possible criminal charges against the men, who range in age from 19 to 25. One of the men was a dental student at Howard University. The men’s families and spiritual advisors say the men offered no hint that they would pursue such actions.

Metro on Capitol Hill. Metro could be in for a major management shake up, reports The Post’s Lena Sun and Joe Stephens – though the transit system’s top boss John B. Catoe, Jr. is likely to survive. Yesterday was a rough day for Metro on the Hill. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) blasted the agency during a Congressional hearing saying WMATA officials had been paying “lip service” to lapses in safety oversight and accountability. As you may recall, the Obama Administration is considering strengthening federal oversight of the system and others like it across the country.

Maybe the agency’s next trip to the Hill will go a little smoother. The Examiner reports that Metro may be bringing in some high powered help. The agency is spending $200K to hire a Capitol Hill lobbying firm.

No favoritism. D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty’s fraternity brother testified yesterday that he did nothing inappropriate or unethical to obtain a contract for millions of dollars worth of work for the Parks Department, reports The Post's Nikita Stewart. As you might recall, council members were outraged when they found out that the contract had been awarded without their approval.

Maryland news. Thousands of needy families in Maryland have faced delays in getting food stamps, medical aid and other services. A judge yesterday ordered the state to come up with a plan to resolve the delays. In Montgomery County, the developer behind the troubled Clarksburg town center project has been threatened with fines for making unauthorized changes to building plans. In Prince George’s County, a grandfather allegedly was shot and killed by his grandson. The Baltimore Sun reports that Maryland schools chief Nancy Grasmick wants to explore linking student test scores to teacher evaluations and changes to tenure systems. Speed cameras helped D.C. and Montgomery County collected $52 million in revenue, according to AAA via WJLA.

Mmmm …donuts. The Post’s religion writer Michelle Boorstein profiles the bakers at the Kosher Pastry Oven in Montgomery County’s Kemp Mill neighborhood and one of their signature products – the sufganiyot -- the fried jelly donut that is a standard treat during Hanukkah.

Holiday yin and yang? The folks at The Examiner reportthat a Goodwill store in Gaithersburg has been robbed twice this month. Seems like a low blow to knock over a thrift store. But then Fox 5’s Bob Barnard reports that in Anne Arundel County, an anonymous donor dropped a very valuable gold coin in one of the Salvation Army’s Red Kettles. Lastly, Target is coming to Georgetown.

Final note: two chocolate giants are battling each other. McLean-based Mars has filed suit against Hershey saying their Bliss chocolate commercials are too similar to Mars’ Dove chocolate spots. Maybe Hershey can offer some “kisses” to make it all better?


By Washington Post editors  | December 11, 2009; 8:40 AM ET
 
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