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Potomac gets D-plus in river report

Archaeologists have discovered a new pyramid under the sands of Saqqara, an ancient burial site that has yielded a string of unearthed pyramids in recent years but remains largely unexplored. The 4,300-year-old monument most likely belonged to the queen mother of the founder of Egypt's 6th Dynasty, antiquities chief Zahi Hawass said. All that remains of the pyramid is a 16-foot-tall structure that had been buried under 65 feet of sand. The structure was probably 45 feet tall when it was built.

"There was so much sand dumped here that no one had any idea there was something buried underneath," said Hawass.

Hawass' team had been excavating at the location for two years but determined only two months ago that the structure, with sides about 72 feet long, was the base of a pyramid. The pyramid is the 118th discovered so far in Egypt. Most are in ruins; only about a dozen pyramids remain intact.

Hawass said he believes the pyramid belonged to Queen Sesheshet, who is thought to have played a significant role in establishing the 6th Dynasty and uniting two branches of the feuding royal family. Her son, Teti, ruled for about a dozen years until his likely assassination, in a sign of the turbulent times.

Egypt unearths 118th pyramid

Development in the Potomac River's watershed means that a large portion of rainwater now bypasses natural filtering systems and washes off roofs, parking lots and streets carrying a variety of harmful pollutants, according to a report.

In its second annual "State of the Nation's River" report, an environmental group called the Potomac Conservancy gave the river an overall grade of D-plus — the same as last year's. The group focused on problems from "impervious surfaces," the concrete, asphalt and shingles that keep rainwater from seeping through roots, dead leaves and soil.

When it flows over these hard surfaces, the group said, the water turns "fast, hot and dirty," and its speed, warm temperatures and contamination with road grease, fertilizer and untreated sewage are all problems for the Potomac.

They recommended that governments force new developments to clean up, and that new or redeveloped projects control storm water with "green roofs," rain gardens and highway medians full of water-absorbing plants.

Washington Post

Presidential puppy pick

With all the talk of staff and the Cabinet, one of the most important positions to fill in the coming Obama administration will be first dog. Here is a look at the decision:

• Favors a rescue dog

• Must have hypoallergenic coat because of Malia Obama's allergies

• Malia has said she wants a "goldendoodle," a golden retriever-poodle hybrid, right

Top adopted dogs

In Washington D.C.

1. Labrador retriever

2. Yorkshire terrier

3. Poodle (hypoallergenic)

4. Shih tzu

5. Golden retriever

6. Boxer

7. German shepherd

8. Boston terrier

9. Pug

10. Rottweiler

Sources: AP, American Kennel Club McClatchy-Tribune

Chief: Drunk officers shouldn't carry guns

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca has decided to prohibit his off-duty deputies from carrying their guns while drinking. Since 2004, more than a dozen deputies have been accused of brandishing or shooting a gun while under the influence of alcohol. At least 61 have been arrested this year on alcohol-related charges. He said the policy could be in place as early as January. The deputies' union opposes the restriction.

Court: British teen may refuse heart transplant

A 13-year-old British girl who has undergone nearly a dozen surgeries in her young life has refused a heart transplant operation — a decision that may ultimately lead to her death. Hannah Jones, who was diagnosed with leukemia and a heart condition, told her parents and medical authorities that she would rather spend her remaining time at home than in the hospital. "I've been in hospital too much — I've had too much trauma," Hannah told Sky News. "I don't want this, and it's my choice not to have it. I just decided there were too many risks."

Church has some bad news for 400 married couples

Brazil's Roman Catholic Church says it won't recognize more than 400 marriages performed over the past 20 years by a defrocked priest. The archdiocese of the city of Goiania said in a statement that Osiel Luiz dos Santos was forbidden to perform priestly duties when he got married in 1988. The statement says he continued to celebrate mass and administer sacraments. The church directed couples married by Santos to seek a "legitimate priest" to renew their vows. The action does not have legal implications because Brazil only recognizes civil marriages.

Potomac gets D-plus in river report 11/11/08 [Last modified: Thursday, November 4, 2010 9:32am]
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