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Posted at 8:31 AM ET, 11/18/2010

Lori's A.M. Buzz: A decade (!) of Harry Potter

By Lori Aratani
Washington Post editors

Good morning. After a fairly rough patch of weather, things should be calmer today. But news-wise, we're busier than ever.

Coming up:

A mix. Looks like we'll be getting a break from violent storms and gusty winds. The Capital Weather Gang says today will be sunny in the morning, but cloudy in the afternoon. No rain in the forecast though. Temperatures should be in the mid-to-upper 50's. It may actually be warmer earlier in the day -- but the clouds will cool things down. Friday should be pretty nice - and Saturday? Even better.

Levy deliberations continue. Jurors in the trial of Ingmar Guandique, the man accused of killing Washington intern Chandra Levy, will resume deliberations for the second day today. The panel includes nine women and three men. Guandique is charged with two counts of first-degree felony murder. We'll keep you up-to-date on the latest developments in the case so be sure to check back with us.

Guilty plea in D.C. principal case. A second person arrested in connection with the murder of D.C. Principal Brian Betts is slated to appear in court today. Sharif Lancaster, who originally charged with first-degree murder and other charges, will plead guilty to lesser charges of robbery and use of a handgun during a felony, according to Montgomery County Circuit Court records. Last week, another defendant in the case, Alante Saunders, pleaded guilty to murder. He admitted to shooting Betts, but his attorney said that it was an accident during a robbery.

Today's headlines:

Wal-Mart in D.C.? Wal-Mart officials have announced plans to build four stores in D.C. -- part of a plan by the retail giant to get a foothold in urban communities. But already the Arkansas-based company's aggressive push is raising some concerns about the retail giant's impact on smaller businesses as well as how it treats its workers.

Farragut North reopens. Metro's Farragut North Station has reopened after an incident yesterday afternoon in which chunks of concrete fell through the station's ceiling tiles. Metro officials believe the debris was likely dislodged by construction work on Connecticut Avenue. Some of the concrete chunks were as large as a person's head. Fortunately, no one was hurt. Did you happen to be in the station at the time? If so, let us know.

Metro board meets. Metro's Board of Directors is also scheduled to meet today. Items on the agenda include more discussions about escalator issues. Will they talk about the falling concrete? Not sure, but we'll be there to report on anything that happens.

Petition drive launched in Prince George's. A petition drive aimed at keeping Leslie Johnson off the Prince George's County Council has been launched. Johnson, along with her husband, Prince George's County Executive Jack Johnson, were arrested Friday in a sprawling corruption probe in Maryland's second largest county. Nine other people -- including three Prince George's County Police officers -- were also arrested in connection with the wide-ranging investigation.

Cheaters get another chance? A high school campus in Fairfax County is giving educators, parents, students and the public plenty to talk about. West Potomac High School, which recently asked teachers to stop giving students "F" grades, has another policy that's raising eyebrows. The principal at the Alexandria-area campus is giving teachers the option of allowing students caught cheating to retake the test in question.

In short. The D.C. Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration has denied a motion to reopen DC9, which was closed after Ali Ahmed Mohammed died outside the club last month after he allegedly threw a brick through the window; a plan to widen I-270 to Frederick has been approved. (Washington Examiner).

Other items:

The Boy Who Lived. Just in case you've been living in a cave or don't watch television: the newest Harry Potter movie opens Friday. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows -- Part 1" is the first part of the last movie in the 10-year (yes, can you believe it? Ten years!) franchise about the boy wizard and his battle against the evil Lord Voldemort. Of course, to fans, it's SO much more than that, but I only have so much space. The Post's Ann Hornaday reviews "Deathly Hallows, Part 1". You can also watch the trailer.

'Blackout in a can.' FDA officials are cracking down on caffeinated alcohol drinks. In letters to four companies, the FDA said it has concluded that such drinks are unsafe and illegal and that if the companies do not take action within 15 days, it will begin seizing the products or seek a court order barring companies from continuing to sell the drinks. Federal officials have been under intense pressure to act after several college students across the country were hospitalized after drinking one such product, Four Loko.

Happy and cheap. There's another Capitol Dish Happy Hour tonight, with an open bar from 5-6 p.n. and $5 cocktails from 6-8 p.m.

That's it for now, but as you can see there are plenty of things going on today, so be sure to check back with us for the latest news and headlines. If you have questions or comments about this column or about anything Post-related, feel free to post a comment below or send me an e-mail at

By Lori Aratani  | November 18, 2010; 8:31 AM ET
Categories:  Crime and Public Safety, DC, Loris AM Buzz, Maryland, Traffic and Transportation, Virginia, Weather  | Tags:  loris am buzz  
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