May 4, 2008

Iron Man is Pure Gold

Iron Man tops the weekend box office bringing in over $100 million dollars reports.
The comic book story turned big screen hero helped jumpstart the cinema which has been recorded weak attendance all year.
Spring and summer are when most big name movies make their debut with all the Spider-man and X-men movies opening in May.
While passing the $100 million mark on opening weekend is a big achievement it is still less than last year’s comic book movie opening, Spider-man 3, which made over $150 million USA Today reports.
Spider-man 1 2 and 3 all had monster opening weekends but Spider-man 3's success dropped off quickly after the first weekend. Iron Man is expected to maintain its box office dominance for some time.

April 28, 2008

Pothole Problem

The issue of potholes on Minneapolis streets is becoming a serious problem WCCO reports.
One reason for the problem is the budget tightening. There was $26,000 devoted to street paving in Minneapolis in 2001, it is now only $11,600 this year.
Money was saved for fire and police while funds for street repairs were cut.
The Pioneer Press reports that more strain is being put on city streets and residents are not happy.
The number of calls complaining about potholes has increased 150 percent compared to this time last year.

U of M Student Assulted

The Pioneer Press reports that police are looking for two suspects in connection with a sexual assault that happened in a U of M residence hall.
Early Sunday morning two men grabbed an 18-year-old girl and dragged her into a bathroom on the third floor of Pioneer Hall. The men raped her and then fled while the victim went back to the room she had been in.
Police said they did not see any of the victims enter through the surveillance monitored doors KARE 11 reports.
They suspect that they came in through a propped open door or followed other students in a door that was unmonitored.

Truckers Trials

A group of truckers protested high gas prices in Washington D.C. Monday the Associtated Press reports.
The members of Truckers and Citizens United drove around the national mall using bullhorns and signs to make their complaint known.
The truckers are doing this pre-rally drive by before they park their rigs at RFK stadium the Washington Post reports.
A rally against rising gas prices is being held at the Capitol at 11 a.m.

Quarter Century of Captivity

A 42-year-old Austrian women was held captive for 24 years by her father the Associated Press reports.
Josef Fritzl, 73, confessed to imprisoning his daughter, Elisabeth, 42, for 24 years. During that time he sexually assaulted her and fathered 7 children with her.
One of the children died shortly after birth and Fritzl reportedly threw the baby in an incinerator.
He was captured after the daughter brought her eldest daughter to the hospital because she was ill the New York Times reports.
Elisabeth said she was drugged and handcuffed when she was 18 and locked in the basement complex. She says she has been sexually abused since she was 11.
It is reported that Frtizl's wife had no idea what was happening because she thought their daughter had run away.
The police want to figure out how Fritzl could support a second household without anyone figuring out.

April 16, 2008

California Sreaming

Reuters reports that California will be struck by a major earthquake within the next 30 years scientists said.
The grim geological forecast comes from data analyzed in a new study that judges earthquake possibilities across the state.
The report finds that there is better than a 99 percent chance for an earthquake measuring 6.7 magnitude or higher.
The chances of a 7.5 magnitude quake happening in southern California are greater than in northern California, 37 percent versus 15 percent the Assoctiated Press reports.
Scientists cannot predict for sure where in the state the earthquake will happen but knowing one will helps.
The data should be "a wake-up call for residents to prepare for a natural disaster in earthquake country."
This is the first time the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC), and California Geological Survey have collaborated to make a geological prediction.

April 14, 2008

Dubious Deaths

The Pioneer Press reports that two people were found dead in Silver Lake, Minn. Sunday.
The husband and wife were discovered at their home in what investigators are calling a murder-suicide.
The couple were identified as Donald Francis Czeck, 41 and Katrin Rose Czeck, 35 KARE 11 reports.
The couple had three children 19, 11 and 8. They had lived at the home for only a few years.

Minnesota Delt a Merger?

Northwest Airlines and Delta have agreed to merge Monday the Pioneer Press reports.
The merger would make it the largest airline by traffic in the world. The new company would remain under the name Delta.
The two have tried to merge in recent months but have struggled to work out personnel issues.
Once the merger is announced a long regulatory review process with take place.
The merger has its opponents like Rep. Jim Oberstar chairman of the House transportation committee.
The process will look into if the combining of the two companies makes it an unfair monopoly.
MPR reports that there are still staff issues that need to be worked out.
Four airlines have shut down or declared bankruptcy in the past two weeks.
This is considered a move to help both of these airlines from ending up with the same fate.

Eerie Earthquakes? reports that there have been a series of earthquakes occurring off the coast of Oregon recently.
In the past 10 days more than 600 earthquakes have been recorded off the coast of Oregon about 150 miles from Newport.
Many of the tremors have not been very big at all but some have reached magnitudes of 5.0 or higher.
Most of the quakes cannot be felt on land. So hydrophones are being used to listen to the shaking.
The earthquakes are strange because they are not following the pattern of quakes and aftershock.
Scientists listening to the tremors say they are unlike anything they have heard in 17 years of listening.
The earthquakes are not in danger of causing a tsunami because the plates are rubbing horizontally and not vertically reports.
Researchers hope to get a research ship in the area this week so they can do water tests to figure out what is going on.

Maoist Majority

The Maoist political party in Nepal is expected to take power over the government after the recent election numbers are tallied the International Herald Tribune reports.
Just two years ago the Maoists were a group of guerrilla dissidents marching across Nepal, in a few weeks they are expected to be the ruling majority in Nepal. This is surprising because predictions did not include them winning much and they are now poised to take the government over by a landslide.
With the early counts in it appears that Maoist candidates took 108 of the 196 districts where counting had been completed Monday the Associated Press reports.
Because of the Maoists now holding power the fear of an armed revolt after the elections has ended.
This new government is expected to end a 239 year dynasty and rewrite the constitution.

April 10, 2008

Cheerleader Beat Down

Seven girls will be tried as adults for their role in the beating of a 16-year-old girl UPI reports.
The victim was lured into the house by the girls so they could record her beating and post it on youtube.
The attacks came as revenge for an online post that talked bad about the girls reports.
The beating went on for 30 minutes and left the victim with a concussion, hearing and vision loss.
The judge wants to make an example to the community and country through these girls. If convicted the girls may serve life in prison on the charges of battery and kidnapping.

April 8, 2008

Grand Old Party at 4 a.m.

A bill has passed through the Minnesota House Commerce and Labor Committee Tuesday that would allow bars to stay open till four a.m. during the Republican National Convention the Pioneer Press reports.
The new proposal addresses concerns previous bills neglected.
Minneapolis had already voted in favor of the earlier proposal while St. Paul said no.
Lawmakers did not want this to turn into a city versus city battle.
The new bill broadens the areas where bars can remain open. Instead of only downtown bars, the new legislation would grant bars from seven-county metro areas the ability to stay open late.
Also it cuts the run of four a.m. closing from 11 days down to five, eliminating the Friday and Saturday.
Another selling point of the bill is the cities right to choose which bars are granted permission to stay open KARE 11 reports.
Additionally the talk of a possible permit fee has some eager bar owners unhappy with the idea, “When you tack on an extra $2500 that I wasn't expecting to spend, it can hurt," Sam Bergstrom, general manager at Tom Reid's Hockey City Pub, said.

Canceled Escort Leads to Shooting

A man who ordered an escort off was shot in the face after he said he canceled the order the Pioneer Press reports.
Jeffrey L. VanDyke, 42, was shot in the jaw by Brock A. Franklin, 22, while trying to keep the man out of his home. Franklin was running a escort service out of his apartment on Portland Ave. in Minneapolis WCCO reports.
He and two other men intended to rob VanDyke, who found the escort service off of the popular Web site
VanDyke was shot through the door and woke up in a pool of blood and called police.
Franklin has been charged by the Anoka County Attorney with attempted first degree murder. The 18-year-old women who was with Franklin that day, Starsha Swift, is also being held by police.

Polygamy Problem

A raid on a polygamist compound in West Texas Friday was prompted by reports of underage sexual relationships The Associated Press reports.
The compound was raided and searched after an unidentified 16-year-old girl said she wanted to get out ranch because she was being beaten and raped by her 50-year-old husband.
Since the raid 416 children have been taken from the ranch but it is not known if the girl who made the call is among them.
The Yearn for Zion or YFZ Ranch near Eldorado is a member of The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The ranch's founder, "prophet" Warren Steed Jeffs, is in prison.
The sect forced young girls of "child-bearing age" to enter into spiritual marriages with much older men and are expected to be sexually active and bear children CNN reports.

Hungry Haitians

A mob of Haitian’s tried to break into the presidential palace on Tuesday The Associated Press reports.
The protesters were eventually disbanded when U.N. peacekeeping forces used rubber bullets and tear gas on the crowd. Many of them were shouting "We're hungry."
The unrest stems from the global rise in food cost. With many Haitians living on about $2 a day, they are having a difficult time keeping up.
Many of the staple foods like rice and milk have gone up 50 percent in the last year.
The BBC reports that many Haitians are describing their hunger like "eating bleach" because their stomachs burn from hunger.
UN envoy Hedi Annabi has called the situation "extremely fragile, highly reversible, and made even more fragile by the current socio-economic environment."
President Rene Preval has been criticized for focusing too much on political stability and failing to address the issue of poverty and hunger.