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May 6, 2007

Naked Photo Shoot

The Associated Press reported that more than 18,000 people, "stripped down and bared it all," in Mexico City's main square. This was all for U.S. photographer Spencer Tunick's biggest nude shot ever. Tunick snapped photographs of the people standing up to salute, crouching in fetal positions and lying prone on the tiles of the Zocalo plaza from balconies and a small crane in the morning. "I think all eyes are looking south from the United Sates to Mexico City to see how a country can be free and treat the naked body as art. Not as pornography or as a crime, but with happiness and caring," Tunick said at a news conference. The Brooklyn, New York, artist has become famous for photographing thousands of naked people in public settings worldwide, from London and Vienna to Buenos Aires and Buffalo. The Associated Press reported that nen and women from a broad cross-section of ages and social classes began arriving before dawn, although most volunteers were young men. Between shots, the volunteers burst out into verses of Mexican folk songs such as "Cielito Lindo."

Reuters reported that this photo shoot beat out Tunick's previous record of 7,000 volunteers in 2003 in Barcelona, Spain. Tunick directed with a megaphone a series of pictures, one with volunteers arranged in the shape of an arrow. There were hundreds of police keeping nosy onlookers away, there was also a no-fly zone declared above the plaza. "This event proves that really we're not such a conservative society anymore. We're freeing ourselves of taboos," said Fabiola Herrera, a 30-year-old university professor who volunteered to strip, along with her boyfriend.

The Remains of Flight 587

Carl Macgowan reported for the Associated Press that the families of the victims of the American Airlines Flight 587 that crashed in Belle Harbor on Nov. 12, 2001 to Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx to visit a crypt bearing the unclaimed remains of people who died in the plane crash. The crash killed 265 people and left hundreds of body parts, most of them unidentified. Family members received letters from the mayor, inviting them to the cemetery, but some don't plan to attend saying the city ignored their pleas for a Catholic Mass. There has been a question of where to bury the remains since the flight bound for the Dominican Republic from Kennedy Airport crashed. It was reported that many of the crash victims were Dominican.

Verena Dobnik reported for the Associated Press that the last unidentified remains of people killed in the crash have been placed in two crypts. Susan Olsen, a cemetery official said the unidentified remains, in four caskets, were entombed Friday at a mausoleum in the cemetery. The bodies of all the crash victims had been identified, but the medical examiner's office was left with some remains that could not be matched, said Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner. Borakove said from her knowledge, the 889 bone fragments and other pieces were from Flight 587. The cemetery space was purchased by the city. The National Transportation Safety Board determined that part of the tail assembly of the Airbus A300 had fallen off, and it blamed pilot error, inadequate pilot training and overly sensitive rudder controls. On the fifth anniversary of the crash in November, Mayor Michael Bloomberg a memorial wall bearing the victims' names and overlooking the ocean about 15 blocks from the crash site. The $9.2 million memorial was funded with private and public money.

Cinco de Mayo

The Star Tribune reported that twenty five years ago, a group of business leaders from St. Paul's West Side decided to sponsor a neighborhood festival to, "stir up community pride and customers for local businesses," and today that tradition is still going strong. Owners borrowed two street barricades from the Police Department, they got a flatbed truck with a trailer for a "stage" and rented a couple of portable toilets. According to the Star Tribune, neighbors marched in that first Cinco de Mayo parade, and sold homemade tacos and tamales along the parade route. The event includes three stages of entertainment and shuttle buses. Also, a 5k run, a lowrider car show, a sports zone and two blocks of vendors. This area is overwhelmingly Mexican, the Hispanic community is increasingly from Ecuador, Guatemala, El Salvador and other nations.

The Pioneer Press reported that the festival drew thousands of people over six blocks and two days. The Pioneer Press reported that, while the festival's Friday night car show was a magnet for the young, Saturday's parade was a family affair and a symbol of the deep infusion of Hispanics into the Twin Cities mainstream. Klondike Kate, from St. Paul's Winter Carnival made an appearance along with a "booty-shaking" sorority that danced just a few paces ahead of U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar. Ponchos, beaded necklaces, black light posters, "Dora the Explorer" balloons and otehr kitsch were sold by Vendors. Also, dozens lined up for an autograph from Mexican screen star Hector Suarez.

Girl Slashed at the Mall of America

The Star Tribune reported that a 14-year-old girl from Bloomington was slashed in the stomach by another girl at the Mall of America. She is in critical condition at Hennepin County Medical Center. A commander in charge of investigations for the Bloomington Police Department, Jim Ryan, said the girl was expected to survive. Ryan said the assailant suffered minor injuries, but did not requre hospitalization. The identities of the girls was not released because they are juveniles. Ryan said that the suspect will probably be charged with felony assault.

The Pioneer Press reported that the two teenage girs knew each other. Police are still investigating what caused the attack, Ryan said. Several shoppers witnessed the attack. Ryan said, a registered nurse also witnessed the attack and, "was very helpful at rendering first aid to the victim." The mall remained open for business throughout Saturday, except for a small area near a third-floor stairway that was cordoned off by police. The Mall of America gets 40 million visitors a year.

Panda Porn

According to the Contra Costa Times, a report on CNN Monday detailed how Chinese scientists are getting its near-extinct panda population, "back on track." Recently male pandas have not been responsive when it comes to mating season. Scientists have begun playing videotapes of pandas having sex for the male pandas. After footage was shown, CNN reported that scientists saw, "a panda in a cage practically howl at the moon once somebody pushed play on a VCR just outside the cage."

This story proceeds to discuss the debate surrounding human pornography.

The Associated Press reported that in Chiang Mai, Thailand scientists are showing DVDs of uninitiated male pandas mating. It is one of the many techniques that attempt to get captive pandas to do it, and do it right. The efforts have paid off in China, now comes the next test of getting pandas to mate in their natural habitat. The audio-visual approach “is the same idea as chimpanzees seeing people smoke and then copying it,? says the Thai researcher. The results show that in the first 10 months of this year, 31 cubs were born in captivity in China, out of those, 28 survived. That is a change from the 12 births in 2005 and the nine in 2000.