March 2012 Archives

The United States Postal Service has launched an advertising campaign to promote their new "Every Door Direct Mail," service, which is a shipping service for small business with low postage rates, according to CNN and USA Today.

The Every Door Direct Mail service is an online tool that would offer small to medium sized businesses rates as low as 14.5 cents per piece to mail advertising mail to people in a specific area, according to CNN.

"The Web tool is free and easy to use, enabling restaurants, doctors' offices and other small businesses to map their coverage areas online, so they can really zero in on the streets and neighborhoods they want to reach, said Paul Vogel, the agency's president and chief marketing and sales officer, according to USA Today.

The online service raised $153 million for the Postal Service in 2011, according to CNN.

The postal Service, which continues to lose billions of dollars each year due to the increasing popularity of internet bill-pay and email, has announced plans to close or consolidate 223 mail processing centers and eliminate up to 35,000 jobs in an effort to cut costs by $20 billion annually by 2015, according to USA Today.

"We want small businesses to make the U.S. Postal Service their shipper of choice. We are doing that by developing smart tools and product offerings that help businesses grow, both theirs and ours," said Vogel, according to USA Today.

A hotel clerk was faces invasion of privacy charges after he allegedly made an audiotape of honeymooners having sex at the 340 Hotel in downtown St. Paul, according to the Star Tribune and the Pioneer Press.

Jeremiah Caleb Marg of Burnsville was arrested Dec. 28 on suspicion of invasion of privacy after a man called police to report that he and his wife found a Sony digital recorder under the door of Room 1006, according to the Pioneer Press.

The man also told police he had received a call from "Jeremy" at the hotel to ask if anyone had bothered him and his wife, as there was a "suspicious male walking around the lobby of the hotel," according to the Pioneer Press.

A search warrant filed in February showed that Marg was a registered predatory offender, and had shown sexual material to two girls in 2002. Police seized Marg's laptop with the warrant. No information about the findings has been released in regards to the information on the laptop, according to the Pioneer Press.

Marg allegedly told police that the recorder was his, but he had lost it around Dec 23, according to the Star Tribune.

Two Minnesota water parks closed temporarily last week after visitors were diagnosed with cryptosporidiosis, a parasite that is spread through feces in water, according to the Star Tribune and the Duluth News Tribune.

The number of suspected cases of the parasite, often referred to as 'crypto' at Duluth's Edgewater Resort and Water Park has risen to 41, a state official said on Thursday, according to the Duluth News Tribune.

Trisha Robinson, an epidemiologist for the Minnesota Department of Health, said she typically investigates between one and three outbreaks of crypto in a year. Two outbreaks occurring simultaneously is unprecedented, according to the Duluth News Tribune.

Duluth's Edgewater Resort and the Lodge at Brainerd Lakes treated their facilities through "super chlorination," which kills the parasite, and were scheduled to reopen when the water is safe, according to the Star Tribune.

Symptoms of crypto include diarrhea, abdominal cramping nausea, a low-grade temperature and dehydration, according to the Star Tribune and the Duluth News Tribune. The symptoms can last approximately two weeks.

People can minimize exposure to the parasite by refraining from visiting aquatic facilities for at least two weeks after experiencing diarrhea and by showering before and after visiting aquatic facilities, Robinson said, according to the Star Tribune.

Keith Olbermann was dropped from program on Current TV, co-founders of the network, former Vice President Al Gore and Joel Hyatt, announced Friday, according to CNN and the Huffington Post.

"Current was ... founded on the values of respect, openness, collegiality and loyalty to our viewers. Unfortunately these values are no longer reflected in our relationship with Keith Olbermann, and we have ended it," Gore and Hyatt said in an open letter to viewers on their website, according to CNN.

Olberman said via Twitter Friday that he had tried to convince Gore and Hyatt to work out the "issues" they were having internally and denies that the statements on the Current TV website are true, according to CNN.

"I will be filing against them presently," Olbermann said, before later posting that the "truth of the ethics" of Gore and Hyatt "will come out," in the legal proceedings, according to CNN.

In addition to denying the accusations of Gore and Hyatt, Olbermann also attacked Hyatt personally, according to the Huffington Post.

"To understand Mr. Hyatt's 'values of respect, openness, collegiality and loyalty,' I encourage you to read of a previous occasion Mr. Hyatt found himself in court for having unjustly fired an employee," said Olberman via Twitter, according to the Huffington Post.

Olberman is referring to a 1990 case in which Hyatt's law firm illegally fired an employee after finding out that employee had AIDS, according to the Huffington Post.

The president of Hungary said he would not resign Friday after losing in doctoral degree due to plagiarism, and instead would write a new dissertation, according to CNN and the Washington Post.

"I have a clean conscience. I have written my thesis with my best knowledge I had at the time, and I never intended to plagiarize. However, I will accept the decision of the (University) Senate that has withdrawn my doctorate. But this has got nothing to do with me being a president," President Pal Schmitt said Friday according to CNN.

A committee consisting of four professors and a lawyer said that more than 200 pages of Schmitt's 215-page thesis were either direct translations or showed "partial similarity" to other works, according to the Washington Post.

The committee did fault University of Physical Education also, however, saying the awarding of the degree was an oversight on their part for not noticing the extensive copying and bringing it to Schmitt's attention earlier, according to the Washington Post.

Some are upset by the president's decision, as intellectuals and media have indicated that the former Olympic champion's resignation is favored over the dissertation rewrite, according to the Washington Post.

"I will prove that as a former Olympic champion I still have perseverance. I will prove ... that I can write a so-called Ph.D. dissertation and obtain my doctorate in this manner," Schmitt said, according to the Washington Post.

Schmitt was elected president for a five-year term by Parliament in 2010, according to CNN.

A St. Paul man has been charged with second degree murder after he allegedly beat his girlfriend to death last week, according to the Star Tribune and the Pioneer Press.
Witnesses said Brent L Lynch, 26, pleaded, "No, don't call [the police]," as his girlfriend, Carolyn Leete, 32, lay dead on a bed in his home, according to the Star Tribune.
Lynch's mother, Brenda Lynch said she received a call from her son around 3 a.m. indicating that Leete had gotten out of their car to check on him and someone stole their vehicle. Brenda Lynch said she did not want to be home when her son and Leete got back to their St. Paul house, so she left, and lynch's aunt picked the couple up and took them home, according to the Star Tribune
around 6 a.m., Lynch called his aunt, Glenda Jett, again and asked her to come check on Leete. Jett found Leete unresponsive and went to a neighbor, who had nursing skills to resuscitate Leete, but was unsuccessful, according to the Star Tribune.
Records show that Lynch has a history of violence against women. Lynch is 6 feet 3 inches tall and weighs approximately 240 pounds. Leete weighed about 95 pounds, according to the Star Tribune.

Twenty charged with meth trafficking in Twin Cities

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Twenty people were charged in connection with a methamphetamine ring based in the Twin Cities this week by the Hennepin County attorney's office after an eight-month investigation, according to the Star Tribune and CBS.
The investigation was performed by St. Paul Police, Minneapolis Police, County Attorney Mike Freeman, and FBI special agent-in-charge Don Oswald, who all cooperated under the Safe Streets Task Force. the Safe Streets Task Force is a group made by the FBI to take on major criminal organizations, according to the Star Tribune.
Officials say some of the suspects had connections to the la Familia Michoacana Mexican drug cartel and were bringing the drug from Mexico through the West Coast, according to CBS.
Authorities have recovered 17 pounds of meth, valuing approximately half a million dollars and four guns, according to the Star Tribune.
St. Paul Police Chief Tom Smith said it is believed the suspects targeted the Hmong community for sales of the drugs, according to CBS and the Star Tribune.

Two American Airlines flight attendants were taken to the hospital Friday after one became upset and indicated she believed the plane would crash if it took off from the Dallas-Fort Worth airport, according to CNN and the Chicago Tribune.
Some passengers indicated the attendant, who has not been identified at this time, asked if the plane was in Houston and then asked where the plane was headed, according to CNN.
Shortly after, two messages came over the intercom system. One indicating the plane was having mechanical issues and would return to the airport gate, then another attendant interrupted, saying that there were no mechanical issues and the plane would be taking off, according to the Chicago Tribune.
After hearing the upset attendant continue to use the intercom, saying it would not be her fault if the plane crashed, some passengers used their cellular phones to call 911, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Other flight attendants and passengers were able to restrain the woman as the plane taxied to the gate. The upset flight attendant and another attendant, who was injured while trying to help in the restraining process, were taken to the hospital, according to CNN.
An American Airlines spokesperson said that while they acknowledge the incident, no passengers were in danger.

"Home Alone" house sold for $1.6 million

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The house many have come to know as the "Home alone" house sold for almost $1.6 million Thursday, though the asking price was $2.4 million, according to CBS Chicago and Reuters.
Coldwell Banker real estate brokers said they will not identify to buyer of the Winnetka, Illinois home, according to CBS.
The previous owners, John and Cynthia Abendshien moved into the house in 1988 and were the residents of the house when the movie "Home Alone" was filmed and then released just after Thanksgiving 1990, according to CBS.
The 14-room home was placed on the market approximately 10 months ago, according to Reuters.

Egyptian doctor acquitted in virginity tests case

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A military supreme court in Egypt acquitted a doctor who allegedly forced detained female protesters to be subjected to virginity tests Sunday, claiming no such tests were conducted, according to CNN and Aljazeera.
Samira Ibrahim brought the case to Egypt's military-led government court last August, claiming she was among many who were subjected to the tests, and the 25-year-old said she was devastated when she heard the ruling Sunday, according to CNN.
"This is rape, and I fainted when I heard the verdict in court," Ibrahim said, according to CNN. "God Knows the truth and it will always be a black spot in Egypt's history."
Many have doubts about the verdict, claiming the court is biased to rule in favor of military or government agencies, according to CNN.
"They will never indict one of their own, in all the cases of killing protesters, no real investigations were done, just fact-finding committees that submit their findings," Presidential candidate Abdullah Shalaan said, according to CNN.
There is no appeals court that can hear the case in Egypt, according to Aljazeera. However, Adel Ramadan, an attorney representing Ibrahim, said he planned to take the case outside Egypt to the International Criminal Court, according to CNN.

Analysis of speech

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In the story about Senator Olympia Snowe announcing she will not run again next term, the reporter for CNN went above and beyond by not only sharing the words the Snow said, but also the history and impact of the speech.

The reported talked about five over senators who will not be running for another term in the senate for similar reasons and then gave feedback from other people in the senate about whether the decision was good or bad.

Finally, the reporter also talked about how this decision along with the other five decisions to not run for another term will affect the senate in the next election process and, essentially why this situation is important.

it would be fair to say that most of the article was not about Snowe's statement about why she is resigning as much as what people's reactions to her decision were.

Tornados in Midwest and South leave dozens dead

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Dozens are dead after tornados tore through Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Alabama and Georgia Friday. This string of storms marks the second time in a year Alabama has been struck in one year, according to The Huffington Post and CNN.

The tornados were the second set of storms in just over 48 hours, after an earlier round killed 13 people in the Midwest and the South, according to the Huffington Post.

According to the National Weather Services, four twisters hit Kentucky and are recorded as the worst in the region in 24 years, with several having wind speeds up to 160 mph, said the Huffington Post.

President Barack Obama has offered his condolences as well as federal aid assistance to the officials of the states, according to CNN.

"We're knocked down, but we're not knocked out," said Ohio governor, Kasich, according to CNN. "We're going to get through it."

Researchers have started testing an artificial pancreas, which could be a treatment to help to stabilize blood-glucose levels in patients with types 1 and 2 diabetes, around the United States and Europe, according to USA Today and CNN.

The artificial pancreas has been tested on patients on an in-patient basis so far, as currently required by the FDA, with positive results, according to CNN. The artificial pancreas assists in monitoring blood sugar levels in the body and administering glucose when that level dips too low.

The artificial pancreas currently works by the use of an algorithm that is created from aggregate data form many individuals with diabetes, according the USA Today.

Researchers hope the artificial pancreas will be ready for testing outside of a hospital setting in the U.S by 2015, according to USA Today, though some European nations are already allowing outpatient trials.

"At some point, you've got to get this into a real-life setting," said Dr. William Russell, a pediatric endocrinologist at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's hospital, according to USA Today.

Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine announced she will not seek a fourth term in the senate, citing her frustration with "polarization" in politics as the primary reason for her surprising announcement, according to CNN and the Washington Post.

"Some people were surprised by my conclusion, yet I have spoken on the floor of the Senate for years about the dysfunction and political polarization in the institution, said Snow, according to the Washington Post. "Simply put, the Senate is not living up the what the Founding Fathers envisioned.

Snowe is one of many senators to announce plans to not seek re-election in the fall. Sens Ben Nelson, Joe Lieberman, Jim Webb, Kent Conrad and Jeff Bingman have also announced they will not seek another term in the last year, according to CNN.

Snowe's departure will also be an obstacle to conservative's ambition of regaining a Republican majority in the Senate, according to CNN.

Both Stuart Rothenberg, of the Rothenberg Political report and the Cook Political Report have said the outlook for Snowe's seat in the general election is a toss-up, according to CNN.

"it's a significant blow to Republican prospects in picking up the Senate," Rothenberg said, according to CNN. "They're going to now have to defend a very difficult seat."

St. Paul woman found dead in Frogtown

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A St. Paul woman was found dead Saturday morning in the Frogtown area, police said, according to the Star Tribune and the Pioneer Press.

A 26-year-old man has been taken into custody as a suspect, though the relationship between him and the victim is unclear, according to the Pioneer Press.

According to the suspect's driver's license, the suspect lives at the home where the woman was found dead after a 911 hangup call just after 6 a.m, according to the Star Tribune.

No weapons have been located in relation to the woman's death and no other information will be released until the Ramsey County medical examiner has finished conducting an autopsy, police said, according to the Star Tribune.

A man is on trial for the hit and run accident that left a University of Minnesota man dead and injured two others last April according to the Star Tribune and the Pioneer Press.
Timothy Bakdash said he was so drunk and high that he was "in and out of reality" when he drove the wrong way down a one-way street and onto a sidewalk where he hit a group of University of Minnesota students in Dinkytown and drove away, according to the Star Tribune.
"At that moment, my heart just about dropped," Backdash said, according to the Star Tribune. "I was scared, I panicked, I freaked out."
Benjamin Van Handel, 23, was taken off life-support and died five days later after suffering severe brain injuries from the accident, according to the Pioneer Press. Students Sarah Bagley and Katelynn Hanson, both 21 at the time, were seriously injured, according to the Star Tribune.
Backdash said he was attempting to only "clip" A.J. Epperson, who he believes was the man who taunted him in the parking lot of the Library bar in Dinkytown. Epperson claims he had never seen Bakdash before and was not in a fight with him earlier in the night, according to the Star Tribune.

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