More on state cutbacks:Gov. Willian Donald Schaefer...


More on state cutbacks:

Gov. Willian Donald Schaefer plans to slash another $243 million from the stage budget by cutting nearly every agency's budget. Higher education and capital projects are expected to be hit hard. The latest round of cuts, aimed at reducing a projected deficit of $423 million, were announced Friday by Charles L. Benton, the governor's chief budget expert. The state Board of Public Works is expected to approve $90 million of the reductions Wednesday. The other 153 million in cuts will require legislative action.

* Reversing an earlier decision on one of the most controversial cuts to Maryland's deficit-threatened budget, Schaefer said last Monday that he will restore about $6 million for continued payments for the state's kidney dialysis and pharmacy assistance programs.


The United States population grew 10.2 percent over the past decade, to 249,632,692, reflecting huge increases in California and several Southern states that will shift political power away from the Midwest and Northeast, the U.S. Census Bureau announced Wednesday.

Maryland now has a population of 4,798,622 people, an increase of more than 581,000 residents over the 1980 population count of more than 4.2 million.

The shift in political clout -- totaling 19 seats -- will give California, Texas and Florida more votes in the 435-member House and leave Midwestern and Northeastern states faced with fewer seats and a tougher fight to obtain federal funds. Maryland did not gain or lose a seat in Congress.

War on drugs:

Waves of narcotics cases and the financial woes of the criminal justice system are causing Baltimore to lose its war on illegal drugs, says a report released Friday by a committee of city lawyers.

The 54-page report concludes that dwindling government funds have left the system incapable of dealing with a dramatic increase in drug cases.

"The public must be alerted that the war on drugs is being lost," the report says. It contends that "a whole generation or more" as well as Baltimore's entire justice system are being lost to drugs.

Gorbachev nominee:

The Congress of People's Deputies confirmed Mikhail Gorbachev's nominee for vice president Thursday on a second ballot after the Soviet leader implored lawmakers to approve someone he trusted.

Earlier in the day, legislators had rejected the nominee, Gennady I. Yanayev, by 31 votes, prompting Gorbachev to request a second vote.

Lawmakers said Yanayev was initially rejected because he was not well known and had too many ties to the Communist Party and its youth organization, the Komsomol.

Radical economist Oleg Bogomolov said during a break in the Congress that Yanayev was "a representative of the party leadership and central committee apparatus. He's very obedient, very conformist."

New owner:

The once grand Belvedere Hotel is passing into new hands with its purchase at auction for $3.5 million by a subsidiary of Meritor Savings Bank of Philadelphia.

Thursday's sale means control of the midtown landmark is no longer in the hands of Victor Frenkil, the local businessman who once had hoped to restore its elegance. It also ends the city's 15-year involvement with the Belvedere.

Kenneth F. Davies, the trustee appointed by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to oversee the hotel, said none of the 112 hotel rooms will be rented after Jan. 1, and the Owl Bar & Grill and the John Eager Howard Room restaurant also will close Jan. 1.

Over the years, the city pumped about $6.5 million into the hotel and tried desperately to recoup the money. Two more U.S. aircraft carriers and a convoy of other warships were ordered Friday to steam for the Persian Gulf, less than three weeks before a U.N. deadline for Iraq to leave Kuwait or face possible war.

* President Bush, meanwhile, dismissed reports the United States is still weeks away from being ready to mount a full military strike against Iraq.

More than 400,000 U.S. troops are expected to be deployed in the gulf by mid-February.

Bankruptcy averted:

The Baltimore Opera Company said Friday it had received a gift of $100,000 from the family of the late Charles S. Garland Jr., former opera board chairman, and now expects to reach its $1 million goal to avoid bankruptcy.

The gift resulted from an emergency campaign started by the faltering company in October to eliminate a current operating deficit of $840,000, which has accumulated in recent seasons. The company is expected to be able to mount as planned Verdi's "A Masked Ball" in March and Puccini's "Madama Butterfly" in April.

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