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UC leader proposes furloughs, pay cuts

Sat., July 11, 2009, midnight

OAKLAND, Calif. – Tens of thousands of University of California employees would be forced to take furloughs and lose pay under a plan proposed Friday to offset deep funding cuts to the 10-campus system.

UC President Mark Yudof proposed the furloughs for roughly 80 percent of the system’s 180,000 employees as part of a plan to deal with an anticipated 20 percent reduction in state funding.

The UC board of regents is scheduled to discuss and vote on Yudof’s plan next week.

Burris says he won’t run for his Senate seat

CHICAGO – Six months into his tenure, U.S. Sen. Roland Burris, D-Ill., acknowledged the inevitable Friday and announced that he will not run for election next year.

Burris, plucked from political retirement by an indicted Democratic governor to fill the Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama, told a few dozen supporters in a Chicago hotel that he did not want to spend time raising the millions of dollars he would need to compete.

Burris did not mention that the contest was almost certainly unwinnable, thanks to his political isolation and his shifting explanations after now-ousted Gov. Rod Blagojevich appointed him.

Organic program investigation urged

WASHINGTON – A House agriculture appropriations bill that passed Thursday includes $500,000 for the inspector general to investigate the U.S. Agriculture Department’s National Organic Program to determine whether federal standards are being properly observed before farmers and food producers are allowed to use the USDA-certified label on food products.

Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J., proposed the additional funding to the Agriculture Appropriations Act in response to a Washington Post article that revealed how the program’s lax and uneven enforcement of organics standards has harmed the program’s integrity.

‘Love triangle’ astronaut engaged

MELBOURNE, Fla. – A couple who were rocketed into the public eye because of ex-astronaut Lisa Nowak are getting married, according to a Florida attorney.

Kepler Funk, who represents Colleen Shipman, said Friday that Shipman and former space shuttle pilot Bill Oefelein have gotten engaged.

Authorities say Nowak, who worked with Oefelein in the space program, drove from Houston to Orlando International Airport in February 2007 to confront Shipman.

Nowak is set to go on trial Dec. 7 on charges of attempted kidnapping, burglary and battery with assault.


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