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October 26, 2008

Gas prices at record low

CNN has reported that gas has dropped 53 cents in the past two weeks, that being a record.

It is expected that prices will continue to drop, albeit at a slower rate. Unleaded gas was at an average price of $3.31 as of October 10, compared to $2.78 a gallon on Friday. The average high was on July 11, when gas was at $4.11.

The drop has been related to low demand and crude prices. As of Friday, the lowest average gas price in the nation was in Kansas, at a price of $2.26.

The LaCrosse Tribune reported that factors relating to how gas prices will change in the near future may be effected by OPEC. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries may choose to slow the production of oil, which could cause a potential increase or stop the price drop.

35W bridge thought to be failure from start

The Star Tribune has reported that the I-35W bridge failure is likely to be blamed on designers, who allegedly did not properly calculate the sizes of gusset plates.

The National Transportation Safety Board will present their findings in three weeks, sharing the details of the cause of the collapse. One half-inch gusset plates, instead of one inch plates, are thought to be the reason for the inability to support concrete and steel added during renovations.

Records were found indicating that the designers knew how to calculate the plate sizes, but did not do so for the center portion, which is where the collapse began.

(No other news sources have reported on this event as of now.)

Minn. Independence Party gives no endorsement

KSTP has reported that after a meeting in Apple Valley, no presidential candidate was selected for endorsement.

70 delegates and 30 observers felt that no candidate fit with the party's positions. Presentations were given by representatives of John McCain, and candidates for the Green, Libertarian, and Constitution parties. Also heard for Ralph Nader, whose party is not associated with the Minn. party.

Barack Obama's campaign had apparently pulled out of possibility for consideration earlier.

The Star Tribune reported that Dean Barkley, the party's U.S. senate candidate, is polling double-digit numbers at this point in the election.

Scientists investigate disappearing whales

CNN has reported that seven whales are missing and suspected to be dead in the Puget Sound.

The orca's decline is thought to be the largest in a decade. The orca count is down to 83. A depletion in salmon may be the cause of this great decline.

The were put on the endangered species list in 2005. Other causes may be pollution, stress from whale-watching boats, and underwater sonar tests done by the Navy.

The Associated Press has reported a major concern is the disappearance of female whales that had more potential to bear calves. The count has a chance to rise if more orcas are born this fall.

U.S. accused by Syria in helicopter attack

CNN has reported that a helicopter attack resulting in eight deaths in Syria is being blamed on the U.S. by Syria.

The U.S. is investigating these claims regarding helicopters based in Iraq. It is reported that the helicopters hit a farm, civilian territory, then returning across the border Sunday.

It occurred near a town that houses a camp for Iraqi refugees. ABC News reported that the attack is officially attributed to U.S. forces. The attack allegedly targeted al-Qaida-linked foreign fighters.

The Syrian border is considered uncontrolled, and an easy way for fighters to enter Iraq.

October 19, 2008

Advance analysis

The Star Tribune reported a set of Halloween-related events coming up. One was a Zombie Pub Crawl that took place this weekend. The second is a Haunted Basement, which will take place on Nov. 2. The sources regarding the Haunted Basement included an artist who will help put it together, an organizer of the event.

The angle is presented at the beginning, comparing typical hayride-esque Halloween activities with more adult-friendly celebrations. Throughout the story, many elements are shared that further this notion. The theme of the "pub crawl" shows the adult side of the dress-up event. In the section detailing the Haunted Basement, they wrote about how there is a "safety word" used for those that want to be escorted out of the house, which they explain happened many times last year. This shows the scary-level of the activities. All of these things fit into the angle of why these events may be appealing to an older crowd.

Cold weather rule allows debtors natural gas

KSTP reported that CenterPoint Energy is reconnected natural gas even for those who owe money.

Under the cold weather rule, they must set up a payment plan, but can still have their gas reconnected with debts. The rule does not apply, however, if those customers do not uphold their payment plan.

Fox News Twin Cities reported that customers are protected from Oct. 15 through April 15 due to non-payment up until now. Most of the payment plans are reserved for incomes under $41,000.

2 found dead in St. Paul

Two men were found dead in a St. Paul Apartment Sunday, http://kstp.com/article/stories/S624660.shtml?cat=1 reported.

The apartment is located on the 1300 block of Arkwright St. Officers were called on a welfare check, and found the 2 men in different rooms. The door was unlocked.

Kare 11 reported that the deaths are being called "suspicious", while KSTP identified the situation as being investigated as homicides.

U of M policy may deter student voting

KSTP reported that the University of Minnesota's absence policy may get in the way of student voting.

The policy says that voting in national elections is not legitimate reason to miss class. This could be problematic in that no one can guarantee how long the voting process may take.

Students are encouraged to speak with their instructors, who have the final say in regards to the policy.

(No other news sources were found reporting this story.)

Colin Powell announces Obama endorsement

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell announced his endorsement of Barack Obama Sunday, CNN reported.

Powell, a Republican, stated many reasons for his support of the Democratic candidate. He emphasized concern for what he explained as a negative turn in the McCain campaign. He also noted Obama's "ability to inspire" and the "inclusive nature of his campaign."

He also mentioned that he is displeased with the way the Republican Party has "moved more to the right than I would like to see it." He also noted that he has met and respects both candidates.

The Huffington Post reported that the announcement was made on NBC's Meet the Press. In reference to the terrorist claims surrounding Obama, he said, "This is not the way we should be doing it in America."

Woman beheads man in India

CNN reported that a woman beheaded a man who allegedly attempted to attack her in northern India. She then paraded the head through a market.

The woman was arrested Thursday after authorities received calls from witnesses. The woman, 35, said that the man attacked her from behind as she collected grass for her cow in a forest.

The man had allegedly been stalking her for months, and she verbalized no regret for killing him. CBC News reported that the woman used a sickle to behead the man. The incident happened in the Makkapurva village.

October 12, 2008

Michelle Obama to visit Minnesota

KSTP has reported that Michelle Obama is expected to visit both Rochester and St. Paul on Monday.

She plans to visit the Mayo Civic Center, and then Macalester College. U.S. Rep. Tim Walz and U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar will accompany her.

She is expected to talk about the difficulties for working families. The Star Tribune has reported that both events are open to the public and free.

4 people killed in three motorcycle accidents over weekend

KSTP has reported that four motorcyclists died in three separate accidents in Minnesota over the weekend.

Motorcycle accidents are at an apparent high in 17 years.

The motorcyclists lost control of their bikes in the Saturday accidents. David Thoele and Mary Lofquist died because Thoele misjudged a curve in Delano. Herbert Martin lost control of his motorcycle in Brooklyn Park. Another motorcyclist died after running into the bumper of a car in Rogers.

The Pierce County Herald reported that one of the motorcyclists was airlifted.

Wildfire burns near Los Angeles

CNN has reported that 1,200 people were evacuated and two houses destroyed because of a wildfire which broke out around 20 miles north of downtown Los Angeles.

About 750 acres of land have been burned. Although firefighters have decent control over the flames, the Santa Ana winds, which were expected to pick up Sunday evening, were a potential concern regarding the spreading of the fire.

The San Diego Union Tribune reported that the fire was 20 percent contained as of mid-afternoon.

Cool temperatures into the night helped firefighters with controlling the blaze.

Brief existence for tiny fawn

Daily Mail has reported of a fawn named Rupert, of England, who was rescued after his mother was hit by a car.

Rupert's mother was struck and killed by a car, and vets delivered Rupert via Cesarean section. He was born three weeks early, measuring six inches tall.

His attempted recovery took place at Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital. However, The Bucks Herald reported that the muntjac deer died later in the week.

Rupert had many signs of a premature baby. The Tiggywinkles staff attempted to give him lamb milk, but it was not digested properly because of a lack of his mother's bacteria.

First Indian woman named saint

Pope Benedict XVI named four new saints to the Roman Catholic Church, including the first Indian woman, CNN reported.

Sister Alphonsa of the Immaculate Conception's honor is being seen as morale boost, due to the Hindu violence being targeted at Christians in India. The ceremony took place in St. Peter's Square, where thousands gathered from the homelands of each of the new saints.

Alphonsa died in 1946, when she was 35. The Hindustan Times reported that the pope spoke that her "heroic virtues of patience, fortitude and perseverance in the midst of suffering remind us that God always provides the strength we need to overcome every trial."

October 6, 2008

Nicaraguan president faces accusations of journalist persecution

CNN has reported that President Daniel Ortega is facing accusations of persecuting journalists.

It is being said that the persecution of the journalists comes from their criticism of the government. The journalists, among other groups, are being investigated for money laundering. But Carlos Chamorro Barrios, of the Center of Media, denies these claims and believes the government is trying to silence opposition.

In a related story, the Miami Herald stated that the government is accusing Barrios of illegally channeling money from other governments to Nicaraguan civil organizations.