December 3, 2008

Body Discovered in Alley

Minneapolis police are investigating the death of a woman whose body was discovered in a Minneapolis alley Wednesday, the Star Tribune reported.

The body was discovered in an alley between University Ave NE and 26th Ave around 7:30 a.m.

The woman, described between the ages of 35 and 50, was not dressed for the winter weather, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press. It is believed her body had been left there following her death.

Protestors Leave Thai Airport

An eight-day protest at Bangkok's main international airport has come to an end, the BBC reported.

The People's Alliance for Democracy left the airport ended protests after a court ruled Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat is banned from politics.

The court ruled Wongsawat must dissolve both of his own political party. The court also ruled another two parties must dissolve.

Protests began in May, leading to a takeover of the prime minister's office in August and aiport seizures last week, The New York Times reported.

Richardson Receives Nod From Obama

Gov. Bill Richardson (D-New Mexico) received the nomination from President-Elect Barack Obama as Secretary of Commerce on Wednesday, The New York Times reported.

Obama has been criticized for giving Richardson the position after choosing Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State. ‚ÄúCommerce secretary is a pretty good job,‚Ä? Obama responded.

Richardson has an extensive history with previous presidential administrations, including as energy secretary and U.N. ambassador during former President Bill Clinton's administration. Lt. Gov. Diane Danish will serve as the interim governor for New Mexico, the BBC reported.

November 11, 2008

Minneapolis-Duluth Rail Line Under Consideration

A possible high-speed train line between Duluth and Minneapolis is considering whether to add another 30-mile section in order to boost train speeds.

The section, which would be added north of Sandstone, is one of 10 different options being considered in the development, the Star Tribune reported.

Such an addition would add another $60 million to $90 million to the project, which is already projected to cost $400 million. Approximately 80 percent of the project will be covered by the federal government, with the remaining costs covered by state funding, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.

Obamas Meet Bushes at White House

Top aides were not allowed in the meeting between current President George W. Bush and President-Elect Barack Obama, as the two met for the first time at the White House on Monday.

The hour-long meeting, held in the Oval Office, focused on the recent $700 billion economic bailout and other economic issues, ABC News reported.

Although Obama's two-year campaign called for changes from the Bush Administration, both he and Bush called the meeting a success and spoke kindly of one another.

While the two spoke in private, First Lady Laura Bush and First Lady-in-waiting Michelle Obama toured the living quarters of the White House before Obama left to tour schools for the couple's two daughters, the L.A. Times reported.

Death Toll in Haiti School Collapse Rises

Rescue workers have continued searching the wreckage of a school in Haiti, which collapsed Friday, killing 94 students and teachers and leaving more than 150 injured.

CBS News reported that the school's owner has turned himself over to police and is facing charges of manslaughter.

Poor construction is being blamed for the collapse of the school. Haitian President Rene Preval has called for a review of safety codes, CNN reported.

November 8, 2008

Coleman, Franken Senate Race Faces Recount

The Senate race between Norm Coleman and Al Franken faces a recount, Minnesota officials announced, as more issues have started to surface in the closest Senate race in history.

One issue is the emergence of 100 votes for Franken in the Iron Range, which were filed between election night and the following Thursday, when the votes were recounted, the Star Tribune reported. A time stamp for several Coleman votes is Nov. 2, which was two days before the election.

Secretary of State Mark Ritchie has started working with both candidates on a timeline for resolving the recount quickly, though it may take up to six weeks, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.

Police arrest 8-year-old in double murder

Arizona police arrested an 8-year-old boy in connection with the murder of his father and another man at their home on Wednesday.

Authorities said the child had confessed to the murders, saying he used a .22-caliber rifle, the BBC reported.

The judge in the case has agreed that there was probable cause to charge the boy with two counts of premeditated murder, though he has ordered a psychological evaluation of the boy, CNN reported.

Community members in the small town of St. Johns, where the boy lived, have expressed shock over the murders.

"Who would think an 8-year-old kid could kill two adults?" said St. Johns Police Chief Roy Melnic.

Indonesia Executes Militants

Lawyers for three men arrested in the 2002 Bali bombings have said the men were executed by the Indonesian government Saturday, the BBC reported.

The three men did not express remorse for the bombings that occurred at two nightclubs, popular with foreign tourists. The men said the attacks were aimed at the US, condemning the country for the situation in Afghanistan, according to NPR.

The bombings killed 202 people, nearly half of them from Australia and Britain.

October 21, 2008

St. Paul Bank Robbed by Masked Man

A masked man robbed a U.S. Bank shortly before it opened Monday morning, the Star Tribune reported.

The robber pushed a teller who was unlocking the bank door and took an undisclosed amount of money from the cash drawers.

Witnesses described the robber as a black man, about 5 feet 9 inches tall and medium build. He was wearing a black ski mask during the robbery, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.

UN Engineer Shot in Somalia

A U.N. engineer was killed in by gunmen in the latest round of murders against aid workers, officials said Monday, MSNBC reported.

The engineer was shot several times in the head and body, an execution-style that has been seen in the murders of 28 other aid workers since last year, including one who was murdered two days earlier, the BBC reported.

The African nation is struggling against a rise in national insurgency, with the government supported by an unpopular Ethiopian army. The U.N. said nearly three million Somalians are in need of food and medical aid.

Stevens Questioned Over Gifts

Alaskan Republican Sen. Ted Stevens faced questions over whether his acceptance of over $250,000 in gifts violated Senate ethics rules, CNN reported.

Stevens received hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts and home renovations over a seven year period, which he did not disclose in accordance to Senate rules.

The longest-serving senator is facing seven felony counts in the alleged concealment of the gifts. Both Steve and his wife told prosecutors they paid contractors $160,000, which they thought covered the costs of the massive renovations to their Alaskan home, The New York Times reported.

October 18, 2008

Bachmann Questions Obama's Patriotism

Minnesota Representative Michelle Bachmann said she believes Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama may hold "anti-American views," Minnesota Public Radio reported.

"I'm very concerned that he (Obama) may have anti-American views," the Republican Congresswoman from the 6th District told MSNBC's Chris Matthews.

Bachmann referenced Obama's connection to 1960's radical Bill Ayers in defending her statement, following a trend from Republican presidential candidate John McCain and his running mate Sarah Palin, the Star Tribune reported.

"Barack Obama didn't have a mild association with Bill Ayers," she said. "He had a very strong association with Bill Ayers."

Parents Defend Son's Assisted Suicide

A British couple are under investigation after their paralyzed son committed suicide.

23-year-old Daniel James, who was paralyzed chest down after a rugby accident, committed suicide at a Swiss clinic. It is unknown how he was able to travel to Switzerland, but police are investigating.

It is against British law for anyone to assist in a suicide, CNN reported.

"Over the last six months he constantly expressed his wish to die and was determined to achieve this in some way," James' parents, Julie and Mark James, of Worcester, said. His death was "no doubt a welcome relief from the 'prison' he felt his body had become and the day-to-day fear and loathing of his living existence".

It is believed that he is the youngest person to travel from Britain to Switzerland for assisted suicide, the BBC reported.

Grandfather Held in Kidnapping Case

Police arrested the grandfather of a kidnapped 6-year-old Nevada boy, saying they believe the kidnapping is tied in with the man's drug connections with Mexican nationals, according to MSNBC News.

51-year-old Clemons F. Tinnemeyer was apprehended by police in Riverside, California. It is suspected that he stole millions of dollars from the drug traffickers, although it is not clear what role he played, ABC News reported.

Police say three men posed as police officers and broke into the boy's home and tied up his mother and her fiance. After searching the house, they then took 6-year-old Cole Puffinburger, CNN reported.