April 2010 Archives

Juarez shootout kills six police officers and teen

April 24, 2010

Seven people were killed in a shootout at noon on Friday in the city of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, according to a report by CNN.

Six of the victims were police officers, all part of the task force for fighting drug violence, and one was a 17-year-old boy, according to Mayor Jose Reyes Ferriz.

According to CNN two other officers were wounded and one civilian was hit by shrapnel.

It started with two patrol cars stopping a few people they had been investigating. Two vehicles, or more, attacked the police with AK-47s, according to Reyes.

According to CNN, Juarez is the most violent city in nation. In 2009, there were 2,600 deaths related to drugs.

Plumbing company cashing in on house explosion

April 22, 2010

A home in Highland Park exploded in February after a sewer repariman hit a gas line, and some accuse a local plumbing company for using this incident to make money off those in the neighborhood,according to KSTP.

Benjamin Franklin Plumbing recently sent out postcards saying they would do their camera inspections for only $99, which is half the actual cost, but after the explosion Xcel had begun offering the service for free, according to KSTP.

The company owner, Paul Gavic, claims that they are offering it to customers who want faster service than Xcel's.

"Could take two to three years before the contractor looks into someone's sewer," said Gavic, in an interview with KSTP. "And in the meantime, they could have a backup and could have another explosion."

April 22, 2010

An explosion on an oil rig caused it to burn for over a day and finally sink 52 miles southeast of Venice, Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico Tuesday night, according to a report by CNN.

According to an interview by CNN with Coast Guard Petty Officer Ashley Butler, the rig was leaking crude oil at about 8,000 barrels per day, and that a suspected 700,000 gallons of diesel fuel has also leaked from the vessel.

Officials say 126 people were on the rig at the time of the explosion. 11 workers are now missing, with the other 115 accounted for and only 17 of evacuated by helicopter for injuries.

The owner of the rig, Transocean Ltd, has 140 offshore drilling units.

"We are deeply saddened by this event," said Adrian Rose, a vice president for Transocean. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the crew members of the Deepwater Horizon and their families."

San Andreas Fault due for earthquake

April 20, 2010

In a news report by Ted Rowland from CNN, seismologists believe that the San Andreas Fault is a prime candidate to produce a large earthquake in California.

There have been 80 earthquakes in California and Baja, Mexico in 2010 over a 4.0 magnitude, which is double the number of earthquakes in all of 2009, according to the report.

According to scientists, all but just a few of those were aftershocks, which evens it out to a fairly normal rate.

Icelandic volcano strands Eagan woman in Bulgaria

April 19, 2010

Leah Spring went to Bulgaria to help a friend in adopting a child, but with no air travel since the volcanic eruption in Iceland, airline officials say it could be another month before they can go home, according to a story on Channel 5 Eyewitness News.

According to what U.S. Embassy officials told Spring and her friend, they are the only Americans in Bulgaria currently.

The delay of departure could interfere with the adoption process because of the expiration date on the paperwork, according to the story.

April 18, 2010

After delaying for four months to tell the government about their faulty gas pedals, Toyota will pay the largest civil penalty given to an automaker ever by the government, according to an article by the Associated Press.

Toyota was given a deadline to accept or contest the $16.4 million dollar fine. A transportation official who declined to speak publicly made an anonymous comment saying that Toyota would agree to the fine so as to avoid going to court, according to the article.

Toyota did not comment.

April 18, 2010

Farmers near the Eyjafjallajokull glacier where the volcano recently erupted have been hurrying to keep their livestock from ingesting the ash, which can cause internal bleeding, long-term bone damage and teeth loss, according to an article by the Associated Press.

The volcanic ash has spread over large parts of Europe, putting air travel at a standstill, but is the worst in the rural regions near the volcano.

Cattle, sheep, and horses are most farms' specialties in Iceland, according to the article.

April 16, 2010

A law banning gay couples and unmarried people to adopt or foster children was overturned last Friday, according to an article by the Associated Press.

"Due process and equal protection are not hollow words without substance," said Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza in an interview with the Associated Press. "They are rights enumerated in our constitution that must not be construed in such a way as to deny or disparage other rights retained by the people.

Represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, a group of families fought to overturn the law and raise the ban, on the basis that not enough children are adopted or fostered in Arkansas, which has an average of 1,600 children on the list waiting to be adopted, according to the article.

Jerry Cox, leader of the Arkansas Family Council, said he will appeal the decision in the Arkansas Supreme Court.

Minneosta DWI device bills move forward

April 15, 2010

Bills proposing that DWI ignition devices be put in driver's cars who have acquired a DWI are thought to be welcomed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty, according to an article by the Star Tribune.

Pawlenty was in favor of making it mandatory to put the devices in every convicted offender's vehicles in place of taking away their driving privileges, but the bills being put through are a little more lenient for first-time offenders, making it just an option for those caught with low blood-alcohol levels, according to the article.

According to Sen. Steve Murphy in an interview with the Star Tribune, "more than 40 states have some kind of interlock requirement in their law books, with at least half of them putting the penalties on first time offenders and repeat drunken drivers."

"Quite frankly, we are behind in Minnesota on this," said Murphy.

Inaccurate training for fire code inspections in Minneapolis

April 15, 2010

The Minneapolis City Council decision of 2004 to transfer fire-code inspections to the Fire Department is under scrutiny after an apartment fire that killed six this month, according to an investigative report by the Star Tribune.

City officials had not checked the upstairs unit of the apartment for violations of the fire code for almost 16 years, according to the Star Tribune's article, and many see the split of responsibility between two departments as inadequate.

According to the article, "two fire captains have told the Star Tribune they don't have adequate training to carry out their jobs as housing inspectors."

In an interview with the Star Tribune, Council Member Elizabeth Glidden, chair of the Regulatory Services Committee, said reports are showing that the fire department is not finding as many violations of the fire code as regulatory services are.

Como Zoo brings back the polar bears

April 6, 2010

The Como Zoo has brought their polar bears back to reside in their "new digs," according to the Star Tribune.

The bears, Neil and Buzz, have been living in Detroit for two years while their new habitat has been built. The new home, Polar Bear Odyssey, is almost four times bigger than their old home, according to the article.

Visitors cannot see the bears until June 3, so they can get used to the new place, which cost $15 million to build, to be similar to the Hudson Bay, according to the Star Tribune.

The bears are 14 years old and have been at the Como Zoo since 2002.

Bike rental for St. Paul's low income residents

April 4, 2010

Sibley Bike Depot is planning to rent out refurbished bikes to low income members of the community with a $200,000 federal grant, according to an article by the Star Tribune.

Called the Community Partners Bike Library, Sibley Bike Depot will join with 20 other groups to lend out 200 bikes to people for transportation. People 16 years or older can use the bike for up to six months, and have to take a saftey class before taking the bike, according to the article.

"We're getting bikes in the hands of people who need them," said Jason Tanzman, volunteer coordinator for the nonprofit bike shop in an interview with the Star Tribune.

Real estate guru speaks of Brooklyn's Prospect Park South

April 10, 2010

Mary Kay Gallagher, a 90-year-old woman, has been in real estate for over 40 years, according to an article by the New York Times.

She is focused on the 2.5 square miles bordered by Prospect Park, Avenue H, Coney Island Avenue and Ocean Avenue, commonly called Ditmas Park, according to the article.

In 1970 she sold her first home, a stucco on Marlborough, to a doctor for $59,000. Forty years later, the house is worth $850,000.

Gallagher grew up in Philadelphia, raised by a leather salesman, and didn't start real estate until she was married and had six children, according to the article.

Kensington, Brooklyn home to Darfur immigrants

April 9, 2010

As the voting in Sudan begins, the more than 300 Darfur immigrants gather to protest the incumbent president, according to the New York Times.

Within this community of immigrants, there are huge weddings, family meals, 13-hour days of driving cabs or doing hard labor.

Omar Hassan al-Bashir, the incumbent president, has been indicted on crimes against humanity for the bloodshed in Darfur.

Thais working communal Israeli farms

April 11, 2010

Everything from cucumbers peas and peppers are grown in the moshav greenhouses, but the sound of Thai being spoken is unlikely, according to a reporter from the BBC news.

According to Roni Keidar, who runs a seed production business, almost all of their workers are Thai. Many of the workers make almost double what they could in a year in Thailand.

"Netiv Haasara is right on the border with Gaza. Standing by the greenhouses you can literally touch the huge concrete wall that separates Israel from the Palestinian territory," said Jon Donnison, the reporter for BBC news.

According to the article, the Israeli government says there are around 28,000 Thais working legally in Israel.

Auto sales rise this March

Sales of new vehicles rose almost 27 percent in March compared to last March's sales, according to Time.

Toyota's sales, after recalls and controversy, rose 41 percent this march. General Motors also saw increases in sales.

"We're pretty encouraged by our results," said Susan Docherty, GM's vice president of marketing. "Our incentive spend is down significantly from last year."

Chrysler, on the other hand, sits behind with a decrease in sales of eight percent.

Heroin epidemic reaching Russia

According to an article by the BBC, there are now two and a half million heroin addicts in Russia, compared to the 800,000 in the United States.

Opium production has risen in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban, and according to BBC news, has made Russia a large consumer of the product because of its close proximity.

HIV is following the heroin epidemic in causing deaths of Russians as well.

According to the Star Tribune, from 1999 to 2009, the department had an 8.7 percent drop in service calls. Meanwhile, from 2003 to 2009, calls went up 17 percent throughout the county.

Fire Chief Nyle Zikmund credits this to the department's many years and wide range of fire prevention work.

"Volumes of evidence says [fire] suppression is a failed response," said Zikmund in an interview with the Star Tribune. "It's the extreme case that suppression actually makes a difference. You don't abandon suppression, but we recognize if we really want to make a difference, we've got to make an investment ... into prevention."

Unemployment for recent veterans rising

Unemployment rates for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have risen 14.7 percent, according to an article by CNN.

In previous years, the unemployment rates for these veterans have been 10.2 percent in 2009, 7.3 percent in 2008, and 6.1 percent in 2007, according to CNN.

Director for Veterans for Common Sense Paul Sullivan told CNN that there were several reasons for the unemployment.

"Sometimes the skills from the battlefield don't transfer directly to civilian jobs," said Sullivan.

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