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Posted at 5:46 AM ET, 01/20/2011

Buzz: Va. gun rights, no-fly list, pandas

By Lori Aratani
Washington Post editors

Good morning. Hope you enjoyed yesterday's "balmy" temperatures because it's going to get colder over the next few days. The Capital Weather Gang says it'll be partly cloudy today with temperatures in the high 30's or low 40's. (Just think how great it will feel if we ever hit 50 again). Snow is expected late tonight -- but not the wintry mix that CWG initially thought we'd be in for. Looks like a little over an inch of accumulation that will begin late tonight and for the most part should end before you wake up on Friday.

Coming up:

Pick one. The Maryland State Health Commission is expected to decide today whether Adventist HealthCare or Holy Cross Hospital will be allowed to build a hospital in northern Montgomery County. The two health care giants have been battling for years over the right to build a new hospital in the fast-growing part of the county. In an earlier recommendation, a state official gave the nod to Holy Cross. But a coalition of women's and religious groups are urging the commission to reject Holy Cross' bid out of concern that Catholic restrictions on reproductive health services could jeopardize access and care for low-income women and teens.

Virginia teen and "no-fly" list. A hearing is set today in the case of the Virginia teenager, who has been detained in Kuwait and placed on a U.S. government “no-fly” list. Lawyers for 19-year-old Gulet Mohamed on Tuesday filed a lawsuit seeking a court order that would allow him to be deported back to United States.Earlier this week Mohamed tried to take a United Airlines flight back to the U.S. but was barred from boarding.

Today's headlines:

Rolling out the welcome mat. Fish and guests smell after four days, but in the case of the National Zoo's pandas, most Washingtonians are willing to make an exception. Now Zoo officials and the Chinese government have reached an agreement that will allow Tian Tian and Mei Xiang to stay in D.C. for another five years  They were originally scheduled to returned to China at the end of last year. It's not exactly the agreement that Zoo officials had been hoping for. Zoo director Dennis W. Kelly was hoping to replace one or both pandas to increase the chances of a new panda cub, but said he was happy a deal had been reached. The official papers will be signed during a ceremony this morning.

We're No. 1. According to a study by the Texas Transportation Institute, D.C. is now tied with Chicago for the title of worst commute in the nation. Yes, folks, it's gotten so bad here, that Los Angeles now has only the third-worst commute in the country, according to the study. The average Washington area driver loses 70 hours a year - almost three full days - crawling along in traffic compared to the average driver in LA who loses only 63 hours. As traffic has gotten more congested in Washington, the number of people who say they've felt uncontrollable road rage either frequently or occasionally has risen from 22 to 32 percent.

Virginia and gun rights. At a time when some are calling for more restrictions on guns following the shootings in Arizona, gun rights advocates scored an important victory in Virginia where Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) reversed a ban on people carrying firearms openly in Virginia's state parks. "These regulations, once finally approved, would simply allow law-abiding Virginians who legally own a firearm to exercise the same rights in a Virginia state forest or state park that they already possess while elsewhere in the commonwealth," said J. Tucker Martin, a spokesman for the governor.

D.C. and medical marijuana. The rules governing D.C. medical marijuana law are slated to take effect this week, but it will still be months before patients can begin buying pot. D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray must still name members of a medical marijuana board and must also establish criteria for which doctors and patients will be eligible to participate in the program. (WAMU)

In short. Statues stolen from the Dennis and Phillip Ratner Museum in Bethesda earlier this week have been recovered from a scrap yard in Rockville, but most were damaged beyond repair (Post); the co-owner and four employees -- who had been suspected of chasing and beating a man who threw a brick at the club window -- at the nightclub DC9 can return to work, D.C. Alcoholic Beverage Control Board ruled Wednesday (TBD.com);  D.C. will incorporate thousands of private security cameras into its surveillance network. (Washington Examiner)

Other items:

The state of the State Dinner. Because we know your invitation got lost in the mail (I know mine certainly did), we offer some details from last night's state dinner for Hu Jintao. Every one played nice, nobody party-crashed. The evening's theme was all-American, with elegant nods to Chinese culture. There were 225 folks on the guest list ranging from politicians to business leaders to celebrities.  Check out the photo gallery.

Lunchtime viewing. Catch up with the video version of Post Now. You can find our newscast featuring anchor Anqoinette Crosby on PostLocal.com beginning at 11 a.m. 

That's it for now. Thanks for reading and have a great day. Be sure to check back for more updates and headlines. If you're on Facebook, think about becoming a fan of Post Local. On the go? Follow our Twitter feed.


By Lori Aratani  | January 20, 2011; 5:46 AM ET
Categories:  DC, Loris AM Buzz, Maryland, Traffic and Transportation, Virginia, Weather  | Tags:  loris am buzz  
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