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Talking Points: Smithsonian cuts, new bird flu in China, and a lucky dog

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Local,Talking Points

Is the Smithsonian closing its museums to make ends meet?

The museums won't close entirely but budget-driven cutbacks in the number of exhibit guards means the Smithsonian Institution will start rolling closures of some galleries and will likely postpone or cancel some exhibits for 2014 and 2015. Separately, the National Archives already has reduced its operating hours at sites in Washington and suburban Maryland. While the memorials on the National Mall will remain open 24 hours a day, the ranger stations may not be manned after 10 p.m. Currently rangers are on duty until about 11:30 p.m. to interact with visitors who come to see the memorials at night.

How many people in China are sick from the new bird flu?

That's just it -- no one can be sure because not everyone shows symptoms. The illness, which can cause brain damage, multi-organ failure and muscle breakdown in extreme cases, may have no symptoms at all or be mistaken for a normal cold. Officials investigating the outbreak found an asymptomatic child by locating all the people who had contact with a 7-year-old girl who was showing symptoms. The virus, however, does not appear to pass from person to person. Sixty people have become ill and 13 have died from the new flu.

Is it true that a dog in Texas got a face-lift?

Is true, though it wasn't a vanity adjustment. Sesame, a 2-year-old Chinese Shar-Pei, needed the surgery to help him hear and see. The breed is famous for being walking piles of wrinkles. Sesame had so many wrinkles, however, that he could hardly open his eyes and was prone to rashes. The weight from the wrinkles also closed access to his ears and he developed infections. Sesame will soon be available for adoption from the San Antonio Humane Society.

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By the staff of
The Washington Examiner