Tuesday, August 14, 2012

August 13, 2012 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The interim president of Tennessee State University said allegations of grade fixing at the university have opened dialogue for better communication between faculty and administrators.

The Senate Higher Education Subcommittee held a hearing on Monday to address allegations that university officials changed more than 100 students' grades of "incomplete" for two introductory-level courses into letter grades without instructors' permission.

Tennessee Board of Regents officials told the panel there were mistakes made and that there was a lack of communication, but they said an internal audit found no wrongdoing by university administrators.

One of the faculty members who made the allegations said she voiced her concerns outside the school because she didn't think they would be addressed by university administrators. Another faculty member said he was simply "afraid."

Interim TSU president Portia Shields told reporters after the hearing that she holds campus meetings for faculty and administrators to voice their concerns, but apparently she isn't doing enough.

"To hear several people say that they were afraid to come forward when we operate in a transparent format is very troubling and we have to find a way to address that," Shields said.

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Regents officials: TSU grade assignments valid

NEW YORK (AP) - FedEx will soon begin offering buyouts to U.S. employees in an effort to cut costs in the face of a weakening global economy.

The world's second largest package delivery company hinted at cutbacks earlier this summer when it said that slowing economic growth would crimp its earnings well into next year. It has already removed some aircraft from its fleet of more than 600 to account for a loss of demand.

While FedEx hasn't yet decided how many positions will be eliminated, it will likely focus on slow-growth areas like its Express and Services units.

Express is where FedEx got its start in 1971, and it's still the company's biggest segment by far. The speedy shipping division, which moves 3.5 million packages on an average day, has been hit hard as people shift to slower delivery methods to conserve cash. The unit is also being dragged down slowing Asian growth and a reduction in demand for Asian goods from the U.S. and Europe. The unit reported revenue of $26.5 billion in the latest fiscal year and has more than 146,000 employees worldwide - 102,000 of those in the U.S.

Services is FedEx's behind-the-scenes logistics division, but it also includes FedEx Office, formerly Kinko's. It was formed in 2000 and with annual revenue of $1.7 billion in 2012, is one of FedEx's smallest units. It has 13,000 employees, all of whom are U.S. based.

FedEx said those that are close to retirement are also eligible for buyouts.

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FedEx to offer US staff buyouts in cost cut effort

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Elvis Presley left behind hit songs, epic performances, some so-so movies and an image as a handsome, rebellious, talented and sometimes-troubled artist that remains indelibly marked in America's pop culture psyche 35 years after his death.

Presley also left behind memories held closely and deeply by the songwriters and musicians who not only helped him work his magic in the studio and onstage, but also worked hard to keep his music alive today. Many described him as intelligent, humble and generous.

DJ Fontana, Elvis' longtime drummer, met Presley during the popular "Louisiana Hayride" shows in the early 1950s. Fontana, who still tours and plays Elvis songs, said Presley rarely rehearsed and always appeared cool.

"He never did prepare for nothing, early on," Fontana said. "Every time he came onstage he was ready. He never did get really nervous, you know."

Fontana, studio musician Bobby Wood and others are playing a 35th-anniversary tribute concert in Memphis on Thursday, commemorating the day Presley died in 1977 at 42. The event is part of Elvis Week, the annual celebration of all things Elvis that includes the candlelight vigil at his mansion, Graceland, on the eve of the death anniversary.

Elvis Week will draw about 75,000 fans. Ex-wife Priscilla Presley and daughter Lisa Marie Presley are expected to attend the concert, which will include live musicians playing along with video footage of Elvis singing.

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Musicians remember Elvis' talent, character

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) - Middle Tennessee State University has signed a deal with the Army and Marine Corps to study how to coordinate robots on the ground with unmanned vehicles in the air.

MTSU's Unmanned Aircraft Systems program and the military will study how to add low-cost hardware and software to existing small robots so air and ground systems can communicate and work together.

Interim program director Mark Blanks said the research could be used to direct a ground robot to investigate an object spotted by an aviation drone.

The agreement announced Monday allows the military's Robotic Systems Joint Project Office to lend and transfer research equipment to MTSU and Army and Marine personnel to help develop MTSU coursework.

MTSU has an existing research deal with the Army involving its remote-controlled Raven aircraft.

MTSU to help military study use of robots, drones

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