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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.

October 10, 2008

Car Pulled From River Contained Body, Police Say

A dredging project near Harriet Island in St. Paul led to the discovery of a submerged car with a body inside, police announced Friday.

The car, which was heavily damaged, was removed from the river around 9 a.m. Workers on the site said they saw a decomposed body inside and called police, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Investigators will begin checking missing persons records and try to find the owner of the vehicle, a police spokesman told the Star Tribune.

It is not known whether the incident will be investigated as a homicide.

Stocks Continue to Plummet; Bush Vows Resolution

After eight consecutive days of falling stocks, the Dow Jones industrial average has lost 2,400 points, although the dollar gained on the yen, CNN reported.

The market has suffered from fears of a global recession, following the federal buyout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two largest mortgage companies in the U.S., and the collapse of Lehman Brothers, leading to massive reforms within the private banking sector.

President Bush, speaking at a press conference at the White House Rose Garden, defended the $700 billion bailout act and vowed he would work with other nations to stabilize the global economy.

"We are a prosperous nation with immense resources and a wide range of tools at our disposal," he said. "We are using these tools aggressively."

"Fellow citizens: We can solve this crisis, and we will," he added, as reported by the BBC.

A delegation of top finance ministers from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan will meet in Washington, D.C., over the weekend, according to The New York Times.

Nobel Peace Prize to be Awarded to Former Finnish President

The Nobel Foundation has announced that former Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari will claim the coveted Nobel Peace Prize at an awards ceremony this December.

The foundation selected Ahtisaari "for his important efforts, on several continents and over more than three decades, to resolve international conflicts," as reported by the BBC.

Ahtisaari's work included establishing Namibia and working to resolve violent conflicts in Indonesia, Central Asia and twice in Kosovo. His most recent work has been in Iraq, according to The New York Times.

In a speech accepting an award from UNESCO, the 71-year-old peace negotiator called on his childhood as motivation for his lifelong work.

“The origins of my career as a peace mediator can be found from my childhood years. I was born in the city of Viipuri, then still part of Finland. We lost Viipuri when the Soviet Union attacked my country. Along with 400,000 fellow Karelians I became an eternally displaced person in the rest of Finland,? he said, as is reported by The New York Times.

Along with the peace prize, the Nobel Foundation awards four other prizes - for chemistry, literature, physics, and physiology or medicine - each year. Recipients receive a gold medal, diploma, and 10 million Swedish kronor, according to CNN.