Amherst, Mass.

UMass reverses ban on admitting Iranian nationals

The University of Massachusetts at Amherst has reversed its decision to ban Iranian nationals from admission to certain graduate programs in engineering and science.

Wednesday’s announcement comes on the heels of the university’s decision last week to bar students from Iran in a move that officials said aligned school policy with U.S. sanctions against Iran.

The university said it will develop individualized study plans based on a student’s projected coursework to meet the requirements of federal sanctions law.

Congress enacted legislation in August 2012 that denies visas for Iranian citizens to study in the U.S. if they plan to participate in coursework for a career in the energy or nuclear fields in Iran.

The university said consultation with the State Department and private attorneys led to the decision to reverse the policy.

Enfield, N.H.

Officials seek snowmobiler in hit-and-run of two dogs

Fish and Game officials are looking for a snowmobile operator who struck two dogs on a trail in Enfield, New Hampshire.

Authorities say a woman was walking her dog and another she was caring for on Sunday when the unleashed dogs ran onto the Northern Rail Trial. As the woman was climbing the bank leading to the trail, a snowmobile struck the dogs.

She says the driver got off the snowmobile and approached her but then got back on the snowmobile and took off.

One dog required surgery for deep cuts to its legs. The other dog also was injured.

Fish and Game officers are urging the driver to come forward. They also remind the public that trails are used for numerous activities and that all users should be careful.


Weather forcing Northeast Corridor trains to half capacity

Amtrak’s busy Northeast Corridor is running at about half its normal capacity for the second day in a row Wednesday.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari says the frequency of the Acela Express and the Northeast Regional lines was reduced by about half on Tuesday and Wednesday because of winter weather.

The company’s Northeast Corridor stretches from Washington, D.C. to Boston and is the busiest railroad in North America, with more than 2,200 trains operating each day.

Magliari says all the passengers who had tickets have been able to get on different trains after being notified about cancellations. He says the company hopes to have service fully restored Thursday.

Passengers can check for updates at


Olympic organizers seeking input from surrounding areas

The group behind Boston’s bid for the 2024 Olympics is reaching beyond the city for input on their proposal.

Boston 2024 announced Wednesday that it would hold a series of 20 community meetings in the coming months around Massachusetts – venturing as far west as Springfield.

The organization’s chief executive, Richard Davey, said the purpose of the meetings is to give residents statewide a chance to share ideas and concerns.

The International Olympic Committee is expected to name a host for the 2024 games in 2017. If Boston wins out, Olympic venues could be located in several other parts of the state.

The first meeting will be held next week in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood, followed by sessions in Lowell, Cambridge, the South Coast, Springfield and Malden.

– From news service reports