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Posted at 7:42 AM ET, 12/23/2010

Buzz: Pandas, snow and politics

By Elizabeth Flock
Good morning. I'm Elizabeth Flock, filling in for Lori while she skips off for a holiday vacation.

We just got word that a D.C. firefighter was shot off-duty. The firefighter is in critical condition this morning at Washington Hospital Center with several gunshot wounds, WRC-TV (Channel 4) reported. Police told the news station that the firefighter, who was off duty at the time, drove himself to the hospital after being shot.

Sunday snowstorm possible: Our Capital Weather Gang doesn't think it will be a white Christmas. But they warn that travelers should watch out for a potential Sunday snowstorm.

Coming up:

Pandas to remain at National Zoo - for now. The National Zoo said Wednesday that China has granted an extension of its lease of Washington's two giant pandas, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, while details of a new agreement are worked out. Zoo Director Dennis W. Kelly was in China last week to negotiate a new panda arrangement to replace the 10-year, $10 million lease that expired Dec. 6. China owns and leases all giant pandas in U.S. zoos. We'll keep you posted on the details.

Va. to preserve site of slave burials in Richmond. Virginia will preserve a Richmond burial ground that holds the graves of slaves and free blacks from the 18th and 19th centuries in time for the 150th anniversary of the Civil War next year. Gov. Robert F. McDonnell's plans are to create a walking museum in the area of Richmond, the former capital of the Confederacy, housed in what is known as Lumpkin's Jail and buried.

Today's headlines:

Pr. George's County facing a $77 million spending gap. County Executive Rushern L. Baker III says his new administration will introduce spending cuts and cost savings, and then institute austerity measures to plug the hole.

Chairman-elect Kwame Brown shuffles D.C. Council committee assignments. After six weeks of squabbling among members over leadership assignments on the 13-member panel, Brown decided that council member Harry Thomas Jr. (D-Ward 5) will replace him as chairman of the influential Economic Development Committee. Brown is also giving Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) a committee to lead. In March, the council removed Barry as head of the Housing and Workforce Development Committee amid allegations that he had misused council earmarks.

Baby stolen along with car. Two men stole a car from a social worker in Capitol Heights Wednesday afternoon -- only to realize blocks later they had a baby in tow, police said.

Gray taps three outsiders for D.C. schools, employment posts. Gray's nominations for deputy mayor for education, state superintendent and director of the Department of Employment Services were surprises after a string of reappointments and promotions of his own staff and current members of Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's administration.

That's it for now. Be sure to check with us for more news, headlines, and tips for holiday travel.

And if you haven't caught John Kelly's looks back at 2010 in Washington, with Rhee and Redskins, Pepco and bedbugs, take a look at our timeline.

Explore the stories:

By Elizabeth Flock  | December 23, 2010; 7:42 AM ET
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