March 2012 Archives

Syrians work to clear antipersonnel mines near Turkey

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Syrian forces have placed hundreds of antipersonnel mines near the borders of Lebanon and Turkey in the recent months, causing causalities to anyone who tries to cross the border in attempt to seek some form of refuge from the war in Syria.

Mazen Hajisa and other volunteers have found a way to remove these deadly traps and have dug up more than 300 similar devices over the past two months, CNN said.

According to Human Rights Watch, antipersonnel mines are militarily weapons that mostly kill and injure civilians. The 1997 Mine Ban Treaty comprehensively prohibits the use, production, trade, and stockpiling of antipersonnel mines- 159 countries have joined the treaty, the Huffington Post said.

The devices are constructed in a green molded plastic case and are about the size of a soup bowl, CNN said. They also have a raised black cross on the top, Hajisa pointed out to CNN.

"If you put pressure on this trigger," Haijsa said, "It will explode," CNN quoted.

The land mines seem to be hidden along the boarder in an effort to close the widely-traveled smugglers' trails that go along the Middle Eastern frontier, CNN said.

Usually, experts wear armor and use specialized equipment to remove the land mines, but Hajisa discovered that the mines only detonate when pressure is applied to the top. He now uses a foot-long metal kebab skewer to dig up the mines, CNN said.

Due to increasing tensions between the northern border between Syria and Jordan, the country's land mine clearance program could be delayed- resulting in the civilians such as Hajisa to take the responsibility upon themselves.

Hajisa believes that this is his duty, CNN said.

"If I don't do this, how will the refugees escape from the regime?" Hajisa said. "They face two choices, either be killed by snipers and tanks, or be killed by land mines. The refugees must have a safe place to escape to," CNN quoted.

Analysis: Obits

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Al Ross, Cartoonist for The New Yorker, Dies at 100, the New York Times said.

The sources in Ross's obituary are his son, David Roth, who confirmed his death, and Lee Lorenz, a cartoonist who was the art editor at The New Yorker from the 1950s into the '70s.

The obit has a standard lead consisting of the person's name, what they are known for, and when/when he died.

"Al Ross, whose droll cartoons featuring married couples, bar habitués, anthropomorphic animals, philosophizing prisoners, art and publishing world denizens, anachronistic mythological figures and loyal Mets fans appeared in The New Yorker for more than 60 years, died on Thursday in the Bronx. He was 100," The New York Times said.

The difference between a résumé and an obit is the entire résumé is put in the past for the obit. Obituaries also include more sympathetic phrases and include information about the family related.

Director James Cameron reached the Earth's deepest point early Monday morning in a solo journey to explore the bottom of the Mariana Trench, nearly seven miles below the surface, the Associated Press said.

Cameron used a specially designed submarine to dive 6.8 miles to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, an area 200 miles southwest of the Pacific island of Guam, MSNBC said.

The director of major films such as "Titanic" and "Avatar" explored and filmed the trench, which is 120 times larger than the Grand Canyon and more than a mile deeper than Mount Everest is tall, the Associated Press said.

In a 12-ton, lime-green submarine called "Deepsea Challenger," Cameron spent 90 minutes to reach the bottom, six hours collecting data and samples for biologists and geologist to study, and roughly 70 minutes returning to the surface, MSNBC said.

A large risk in the dive is the extreme water pressure. At roughly seven miles below the surface, the pressure is equivalent to three SUVs on a toe, MSNBC said.

Cameron has been an oceanography enthusiast since childhood and has made 72 deep-sea dives. Before, during and after the making of his 1997 film "Titanic," he made 33 of his 72 dives to the wreckage of the ship, the Associated Press said.

Baby falls out of third-story window in Coon Rapids

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A baby boy fell out of a screen window in an apartment complex Saturday afternoon in Coon Rapids, Minn., CBS Minnesota said.

According to police, an 18-month-old boy fell out of a third-story window at a Coon Rapids apartment building, CBS Minnesota said.

Police said he landed on grass and was not seriously hurt. The baby was crying and responsive when taken to Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids and sent home later that day, the Star Tribune said.

The boy apparently was leaning against a screen when he fell, police said Saturday. The incident will be reviewed on Monday to determine whether further investigation will be underway, the Star Tribune said.

Laela's Law, created in July 2009, required Minnesota builders to create windows with fall-prevention devices when remodeling or building multi-family homes and apartments, the Star Tribune said. Unfortunately, the law doesn't require single-family homes or apartments to immediately switch to safer windows, the Star Tribune said.

France Raises Terror Alert After a School Shooting

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A man on a motorbike opened fire with two handguns Monday in front of a Jewish school in France and killed four people, the Associated Press said.

Authorities said the gunman arrived in front of the Jewish school in the French city of Toulouse just before 8 a.m., started shooting, and killed a rabbi, his two young sons and a schoolgirl, CNN said.

The incident at the Ozar Hatorah school was the third time during the month that an assassin on a motorcycle has fired on minorities in the region, CNN said.

The same gun, a powerful .45-caliber handgun, used in the attack on Monday was also proved to be used in the attacks earlier this month, the Associate Press said. This information fueled suspicions that a serial killer who targets not only Jews but French minorities is on the loose, the Associated Press said.

"In all three cases, the attacker came on a motorcycle, apparently alone, and then sped away," the Associated Press said.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy placed France's southwest region on the highest possible security alert level on Monday night, and informed the country that he will suspend his re-election campaign until at least that Wednesday due to the shooting, CNN said.

Minnesota High School Senior invites Porn Star to Prom

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A Minnesota high school senior invited dozens of Hollywood celebrities, mostly porn actresses, to his high school prom, but school administrators say the X-rated women aren't welcome to the formal dance, the Associated Press said.

Mike Stone, an 18-year-old senior at Tartan High in Oakdale, a St. Paul suburb, invited multiple celebrities to his prom and received a response from two, Megan Piper and Emy Reyes, CBS News said.

CBS Minnesota reports that school official said that it is not allowed to bring a "non-Tartan" student to prom without the school's approval.

Superintendent Patty Phillips said according to school policy, a visitor can be disallowed if it's not in the best interest of the students, the Associated Press said.

Stone said he plans to hold an alternative party at the same time as his high school prom so he can bring his dates.

A Mississippi man has been sentenced to two concurrent life terms in prison for the 2011 murder of an African-American man, CNN said.

Deryl Dedmon, 19, pleaded guilty to murder and committing a hate-crime on Wednesday afternoon and was sentenced to two life sentences for killing 49-year-old James Anderson in Jackson in June, 2011.

Anderson's family opposes capital punishment and asked prosecutors not to pursue the death penalty for Dedmon, CBS News said.

According to police, Anderson died after he was beaten and run over by a truck driven by Dedmon.

Seven white teens were partying in the early morning hours on June 26 when Dedmon suggested they find a black man to harass, authorities said. Anderson was beaten before Dedmon ran over him, CBS News said.

Shortly after the killing, Dedmon allegedly bragged and laughed about the killing, according to statements some of the teens made to detectives, CNN said.

Federal investigators have been digging for months into other possible crimes in the area committed by Dedmon and others that might show a pattern of racial violence, CNN said.

Anderson was a line worker at a Nissan plant, sang in his church choir, a line worker at a Nissan plant, and sang in his church choir. He is survived by his partner of 17 years.

A Farmington man is accused of at least four incidents of exposing himself or showing cellphone photos of female genitalia to children, the Star Tribune said.

Adam E. Berg, 30, has been charged in Dakota County District Court with two counts of attempted second-degree criminal sexual conduct, a feloney, and two counts of fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct, which is a gross misdemeanor, the Star Tribune said.

According to criminal complaints, Berg is accused of exposing himself to a 4-year-old boy at a Farmington park on January 16 and again to an 8-year-old girl playing outside her home on February 13, KSTP said.

On February 28, police received a report of a man in a truck who approached three children in Farmington and tried to show them pornographic images on his cell phone, KSTP said.

Berg appeared in court Thursday and has been released on $30,000 bail. He is scheduled to appear in court again on April 2, the Star Tribune said.

Girl Escapes From Facebook Predator

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A 13-year-old girl is lucky to be alive after fleeing a Texas motel last month from an alleged predator who posed as a 15-year-old girl.

The 13-year-old girl became friends via Facebook with the 15-year-old, and was dropped off by her sister at a motel to finally meet her new friend, CBS said.

According to the police, the girl was greeted by an older man who told her that her friend was in the shower and would meet her shortly, CNN said.

While the teen walked towards the bathroom, the man allegedly grabbed her and put tape over her mouth, CBS said.

As the girl resisted and attempted to scream, the man panicked and removed the tape, police said.

Forcing the man to release his grip, the girl blurted out that her sister was waiting outside the motel for her, police said to CNN.

The man left a fake name with the person working in the motel's lobby but Plainview Police were still able to identify him. Police have questioned the man but he has not been arrested. He could possibly be charged with online solicitation of a minor and unlawful restraint, CBS said.

Former Spanish Teacher Suspected of Murder

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A fired employee of Episcopal High School in Jacksonville, Florida, returned to the school Tuesday and shot the school's principal to death and then committed suicide while school was in session.

The former Spanish teacher carried an assault rifle in a guitar case into the school Tuesday afternoon, went into Headmistress Dale Regan's office, and shot her to death. He then killed himself, CNN said.

Officers responded to the Episcopal School of Jacksonville at 1:23 p.m. after receiving reports of a person with a gun and that the school was placed on lockdown. Undersheriff Dwain Senterfitt said when officers arrived, Regan and the gunman were dead, the Associated Press said.

Regan had worked at the school for 34 years, according to Kate Moorehead, dean of St. John's Cathedral in Jacksonville, CNN said.

She was the first female to hold the school's top position and not only focused on high academic standards, but valued relationships with all students and teachers, Barbara Hodges, executive director of the Florida Council of Independent Schools said in the Associated Press.

The suspected assassin, 28-year-old Shane Schumerth, was a graduate of Purdue University and taught Spanish, according to a 2010 press release from the school announcing he had been hired.

The school said in a statement it would provide counseling to students and faculty.

Twin Cities Man Found Dead South of Duluth

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A Minnetonka man, who has been reported missing since February 27, was found dead Thursday in his car south of Duluth near a snowmobile trail.

Gerald Maloney, 81, was found at 7:40 p.m. Thursday in Clear Creek Township by a snowmobiler, police said in the Star Tribune.

According to a news release from the Carlton County Sheriff's Office, the vehicle was about a half-mile up the trail from West Center Road, about 1 and a half-miles from state Highway 23 and about 15 miles east of Moose Lake.

Upon arrival, officers found Maloney's body outside of his vehicle, the Duluth News Tribune said.

The body was transferred to the Carlton County coroner. No foul play is suspected, the sheriff's office said in the Duluth News Tribune.

Afghanistan Avalanche Buries Village

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An avalanche covered Sherin Nazam village in Badakhshan province in northeast Afghanistan Sunday night causing over 140 people to be considered missing, and 39 confirmed dead.

"The entire village was hit," Lal Mohammad Ahmadzai, a spokesman for the northern regional police, said in the Los Angeles Times. Many people are believed to be buried in their homes.

The first to arrive to the scene were people from a nearby village. They were joined on Tuesday by rescue workers from Darwaz district, who walked for two days to reach the isolated area, the New York Times said.

USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance is planning to send supplies to the area. Tents and plastic sheeting will be sent through a partner in Tajikistan to assist people in the area, the New York Times said.

According to the Los Angeles Times, avalanches are most common during the end of winter and early spring due to the warmer weather. In February 2010, an avalanche killed nearly 200 people, trapping many in their cars and sending other vehicles over the edge of a cliff.

Analysis: Speeches/Meetings

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The Los Angeles Times reported on Mitt Romney's argument in Georgia that President Obama's approach to Iran had failed the American people and made the nation less secure.

Throughout the article, the author treats the speech with a point and support style. The author supports the claims by using quotes from both Romney and pother people from the event.

The author provides background information by stating facts and making references to President Obama's original speech.

Minnesota Golden Gopher wrestlers took second place to the Penn St. Nittany Lions on Sunday in West Lafayette, Ind., at the 2012 Big Ten Championship.

Minnesota finished second with an overall in the team standings with 134 points behind champion Penn State who won the team title for the second consecutive year with 149 points, said the Gopher Sports website.

Tony Nelson and Kevin Steinhaus, both wrestlers for the University of Minnesota, each won individual championships, SB Nation Minnesota said.

Nelson won the heavyweight championship as the 285-pound bracket's top seed, winning a 2-0 match against Bobby Telford of the Iowa Hawkeyes, SB Nation Minnesota said.

Steinhaus finished the weekend with a perfect 4-0 record. His victory against Nebraska's Josh Ihnen bumped Steinhaus' winning streak to 19 matches.

All nine Gophers that placed at this weekend's Big Ten Championships earned a spot at the NCAA Championships. The championships take place March 15-17 in St. Louis, Mo., Gopher Sports said.

Duluth Receives Over 16 Inches of Snow in two Days

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Duluth received up to 16 inches of snow after the snowfall on Saturday and Sunday, which added to the foot of snow the city obtained on Wednesday.

The city has nearly doubled its snow accumulation this season in the past week, the Star Tribune said.

The National Weather Service in Duluth had recorded 23 inches since the previous Sunday.

According to the Duluth News Tribune, Sunday's snowfall was caused by persistent east winds off Lake Superior that created favorable conditions for lake-effect snow bands.

Although still about 21 inches short of the city's snow average, many believe the sudden lake-effect snow was desperately needed for the city's businesses and shops.

A Wisconsin man has been sentenced to 200 years in prison for victimizing his family in their home in Wind Lake, the Associated Press said.

Sean Riker, 43, was convicted in November of 16 crimes. His crimes include first-degree sexual assault of a child, physical abuse of a child, and reckless endangerment.

Judge Eugene Gasiorkiewicz sentenced Riker to 200 years in prison on Friday. Riker is already serving a seven-and-a-half-year sentence for damaging the Racine County Jail and his 200 year sentence will begin when that one ends, the Journal Times said.

Riker had the opportunity to partake in the sentencing via video link from the state's maxumum security prison in Boscobel, but he refused to appear.

An arms depot exploded Sunday in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, and killed at least 206 people, the Washington Post said.

Government representative Bienvenu Okyemi blamed a short-circut for the fire that set off the blasts which shattered windows in a three-mile radius surrounding the barracks storing the military weapons.

A morgue in Brazzaville took in 136 bodies Sunday afternoon as more continued to arrive. A hospital in the area reported at least 237 patients were wounded in the blasts.

France is sending a shipment of emergency aid to Brazzaville after the explosions, Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said in a statement Sunday night in the Associated Press.

The first blast went off at around 8 a.m., and multiple other smaller blasts were heard throughout the morning. Another major explosion went off at around 1 p.m., the Washington Post said.

Costa Concordia Cruise Ship Case Begins

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Hundreds of survivors, victims' families, and lawyers of the wreck of the cruise ship Costa Concordia united on Saturday in Grosseto, Italy, for the first evidence hearing in the criminal investigation against the ship's captain and other staff, the New York Times said.

The hearing had to move from the courthouse to a 1,000-seat theater due to the large attendance. More than 50 lawyers were at the hearing on Saturday and more than 4,230 people are considered parties in the case, the New York Times said.

The giant cruise ship hit a rock off the Tuscan island of Giglio on January 13, tearing a gash in the hull and partly sank the ship, the New York Times said.

From the 4,234 passengers and crew, 17 people are declared dead and another 15 are still missing, Barbie Latza Nadeau said in the Daily Beast.

Saturday's hearing is directed towards analyzing the ship's recording devices to help pinpoint the exact order of events and procedures taken by the captain and crew.

Francesco Schettino, the former captain of the Costa Concordia, is under house arrest on preliminary charges of manslaughter, neglecting to report the accident to port authorities, causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship before passengers were taken to safety, the New York Times said.

Captain Schettino, along with eight other employees of Costa Cruises are under investigation, the New York Times said.

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