Top Mass. officials will work for free



Top Mass. officialswill work for free
BOSTON -- Incoming Gov. Mitt Romney and Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey say they will forgo their salaries for the next four years and use the money to pay top staff members more during the state's financial crisis.
Romney, a millionaire former venture capitalist, would have made $135,000 a year, while Healey, who is also wealthy, would have earned $120,000. They will be sworn in on Thursday.
Romney, a Republican who campaigned on a pledge to bring a business mentality to state government, has said that he has difficulty recruiting top advisers because of low public-sector wages.
He said he will use the forfeited salary to pay some members of his staff up to $150,000. The highest staff salary in the governor's office is currently $130,000.
Romney said the decision was "a symbolic move that we hope sets the appropriate tone and which demonstrates our strong commitment to public service."
The state's $23 billion budget faces a deficit as high as $500 million this fiscal year.
Romney also worked without pay when he was chief of the Salt Lake City Olympics. He donated his salary to charity.
Authorities searchfor missing woman
MODESTO, Calif. -- Hundreds of police and volunteers have searched parks and rural areas for a pregnant woman who, according to her husband, vanished on Christmas Eve after saying she was going to walk the dog.
Officials used dogs, horses, helicopters and rafts in a huge Christmas Day search for 27-year-old Laci Peterson, who is eight months pregnant. A neighbor found her golden retriever, its leash still attached, on Christmas Eve.
Investigators have also scoured parks and abandoned buildings, and questioned registered sex offenders and paroled convicts.
Scott Peterson told police that he last saw his wife on the morning of Dec. 24 as she prepared to walk their dog in a park. He said he was leaving for a daylong fishing trip. When he returned home and found his wife missing, he called police, authorities said.
A bloodhound that was brought in to help with the search did not head to the park, but instead led investigators to a boulevard, indicating the woman may have gotten into a car.
The bloodhound also made a beeline toward the San Joaquin River, and crews inspected a section of the river Monday. But they did not find anything.
Detectives said Scott Peterson gave investigators a receipt Monday from the marina where he said he went fishing. But Detective Doug Ridenour said: "At this point, we are not ruling him or anybody out."
Report: Queen didn'tinherit great wealth
LONDON -- Contrary to popular belief, Queen Elizabeth II did not inherit a vast sum of money from her father, King George VI, according to records released today.
The queen asked the government in 1972 to review its annual payment to the royal household. The government commissioned a report on the matter, one of a number of records the Public Record Office has declassified.
"It is quite clear that, far from being 'the richest woman in the world,' the queen is not, in terms of disposable assets, even the richest person in the U.K.," the 30-year-old report says.
It says her "private fortune" was considerably smaller than the combined assets of The Beatles, who were enjoying huge success at the time.
It did not disclose the assets of either but suggested the queen did not inherit a vast sum of money after King George VI died in 1952.
St. Nick's bones
ANKARA, Turkey -- The Santa Claus Foundation, based in mainly Muslim Turkey, wants Italy to return the bones of St. Nicholas -- the 4th century bishop in the Greek city now called Demre on the Turkish Mediterranean coast.
Muammer Karabulut, the group's chairman, told The Associated Press that the remains of St. Nicholas, from whom the Santa Claus myth emerged, were stolen from what is now Turkey by pirates in the 11th century and taken to the southern Italian town of Bari.
"We want them returned in 2003," he said in a telephone interview. "We're starting a campaign this year for them to be given back."
But the church in Bari dismissed any Turkish claims to the bones.
"They ask for the remains only to keep tourism alive. They don't venerate St. Nicholas," said the Rev. Gerardo Cioffari, historian at the St. Nicholas Basilica in Bari.
Associated Press

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