France Blocks Migrant Trains From Italy

Migrant trains from Italy were temporarily blocked by authorities in France in an attempt to stop north African migrants from entering the country.
According to BBC News, the trains were stopped at the border for hours which prompted Italy to launch an official complaint with France; the train services were later resumed.
Italy has angered France by giving temporary resident permits (which allow them to travel freely in many European countries) out to thousands of Tunisian migrants, BBC News explained.
"We've given them travel documents, we've given them everything they need, and this has been recognised by the European Commission," Italy's interior minister Roberto Maroni said, according to ABC News.
According to ABC News, immigration seems to be turning out to be a very sensitive issue in France's presidential election next year.
Earlier this month, Italy and France chose to launch sea and air patrols to try in order to prevent the influx of thousands of people from Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, BBC News reported.

After visiting the capitol Thursday, Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf said that he is "very optimistic" that a deal can be made for a new stadium and that the Legislature will approve a construction plan before it adjourns in May.
According to the Star Tribune, Wilf was optimistic as he spoke to reporters following meetings with two dozen legislators.
"We're confident that we have the parts in place to get this done this session," Wilf said, according to the Star Tribune. "We're right now in the process of working with several potential [local] partners."
The team's lease on the 30-year-old Metrodome expires at the end of the 2011 season, the Pioneer Press explained.
According to the Pioneer Face, the team faces hurdles in asking for hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies.
The Republican majority has chosen not to raise taxes and is proposing widespread cost-cutting to balance the state's budget, while Democrats are focused on trying to lessen cuts on, for example, services for the poor, by increasing taxes on the wealthy, the Pioneer Press reported.
According to the Star Tribune, Wilf did not completely answer how much the team would pay for the stadium, he only said that the Vikings were committed to a "substantial private investment."

Roger Ebert Learns To Speak Through Computers

Movie critic Roger Ebert lost his ability to speak after undergoing Jaw surgery, but proved that he could overcome his loss by speaking through a computer in a talk at the TED 2011 Conference in Long Beach, California.
According to Time, Ebert is now one of the most dominating voices online and commands huge audiences to his Twitter feed and his blog, and is able to type his words into his Mac computer which reads it out.
Ebert recruited his wife and his educators John Hunter and Dr. Dean Ornish to read his story of cancer and communication, as his friends read, Ebert contributed with goofy gestures to show his humor, Time reported.
"These are my words, but this is not my voice," Ebert told the audience of nearly 2,000, CNN reported. "This is Alex, the best computer voice I've been able to find, which comes as standard equipment on every Macintosh. For most of my life, I never gave a second thought to my ability to speak. It was like breathing. In those days, I was living in a fool's paradise. After surgeries for cancer took away my ability to speak, eat or drink, I was forced to enter this virtual world in which a computer does some of my living for me."
Ebert said he used to communicate by writing in notebooks then used a computer voice he found online with a British accent, but then eventually settled on the Alex voice, CNN reported.

Three Students Hurt in Dinkytown Hit-and-Run

Early Friday, three people were hurt and one is in critical condition after being hit by a wrong-way driver who fled the scene in Minneapolis' Dinkytown neighborhood, according to Minneapolis police.
According to the Pioneer Press, the incident took place around 2 a.m. at 12th Avenue Southeast and 5th Street Southeast.
"The three were walking on sidewalk when they were hit by a vehicle going the wrong way on 5th Street Southeast, which is a one-way street," Minneapolis police spokesman Sgt. Stephen McCarty told the Pioneer Press. "The vehicle fled the scene."
According to a hospital spokeswoman, Benjamin Van Handel, 23, of Appleton, Wis., was in critical condition, and Bagley, 21, of Minneapolis, was in satisfactory condition, the Star Tribune reported. All three victims were taken to Hennepin County Medical Center.
One victim, Katelynn Hanson, 21, was treated and released after hitting her head and getting her legs scraped up, her father told Star Tribune.
"We were just walking back to my house from the bar" with carryout pizza, Hanson's boyfriend told Star Tribune. "We heard something that made us turn around, and it was coming at us pretty quickly. You don't really know what to do when a car is coming at you on a sidewalk."
According to the Pioneer Press, the driver is still at large and the police have not released details about the vehicle due to differences in witnesses' descriptions.

Mother Drives Herself and Four Children into Hudson River

A mother and her three children died after she drove her minivan vehicle with her four children into the Hudson River on Tuesday, one of her 10-year-old sons escaped.
"If I'm going to die, you're going to die with me," Lashanda Armstrong told the children before the vehicle sank to the bottom of the river, the only surviving child told authorities, the NY Daily News reported.
According to the NY Daily News, Lashaun, Armstrong's 10-year-old son, escaped the sinking minivan by opening a power window and swimming to safety in the two minutes that it took for the minivan to sink.
"He was screaming for help," Meave Ryan, a good samaritan who took Lashaun to a nearby firehouse, told The New York Times. "He said, 'My mommy just drove the car in the water.'"
According to The New York Times, the minivan was in eight feet of water with Lashaun's mother still inside with her three other childen. The police identified the children as Landen Pierre, 5; Lance Pierre, 2; and Lainaina Pierre, 11 months.
"There was an argument about cheating, that his stepfather was cheating on his mother," Ryan told the New York Times, according to Lashaun.
According to The New York Times, Lashaun told Ryan that his mother had called a relative and said, "I'm sorry, I'm going to do something crazy, you have to forgive me."
A relative called police before the incident and reported a "domestic disturbance" that may have involved Armstrong's husband, CNN reported.
Members of the Armstrong family released three star-shaped white balloons on Wednesday at the boat ramp where the van went into the water, the NY Daily News reported.

Tornado Damages Over Half of Iowa Town

A tornado hit the small town of Mapleton, Iowa Saturday night causing substantial damages.
"It was huge, just huge," Thomas Mohrhauser, an attorney in the town of about 1,200 people, told the Associated Press. "It just kept getting bigger and bigger."
According to Fox News, Monona County Sheriff's Deputy Roger Krohn told the Sioux City Journal that 60 percent of the town of Mapleton may have been damaged or destroyed by the tornado.
The roof of a high school was blown off, power lines were downed, and several homes and buildings were destroyed, the Associated Press reported.
According to the Associated Press, three people were treated for minor injuries at Burgess Health Center, about 20 miles from Mapleton.
Weather service meteorologist, Frank Boksa, issued a disaster proclamation for Monona County which allowed the state to spend money to respond to the storm, USA Today explained.
According to the Associated Press, Mohrhauser said the tornado appeared to be about a quarter-mile wide.

Dutch Gunman Kills 7 In Netherlands Mall Shooting

According to Dutch officials, a gunman opened fire at a mall on Saturday in the Netherlands, killing seven people and wounding 16 others before shooting himself in the head.
The shooter, Tristan van der Vlis, was dressed in camouflage trousers and a bomber jacket when he opened fire in a parking lot then in Ridderhof mall, Reuters reported.
"It's too terrible for words, a shock for us all," Bas Eenhoorn, mayor of the town, told NY Daily News.
"This is something you usually see in America, not in the Netherlands," local resident Martin van der Ploeg told Reuters.
BBC News reported that Jeroen Wollaars, a reporter from NOS, said the gunman had written a note which said explosives were placed in local shopping malls, which are now being searched.
Shootings are very rare in the Netherlands and only a handful have occurred in the past decade, NY Daily News explained.

Iconic Film Director Sidney Lumet Dies at 86

Sidney Lumet, director of "12 Angry Men," "Dog Day Afternoon" and "Network," died Saturday at 86.
His daughter, Jenny Lumet, told CNN he died of complications from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma at 3:40 a.m. ET and that he was surrounded by his family at the time of his death.
According to The Detroit News, Lumet grew up in New York during the Depression and developed a passionate interest in what he saw as a flawed judicial system saying he was drawn to "films of conscience" that would encourage introspection.
Lumet worked with Hollywood's most well-known names including Marlon Brando, Paul Newman, Henry Fonda, Al Pacino, Katharine Hepburn, Ingrid Bergman, Sean Connery, Robert Duvall, and Faye Dunaway, the Huffington Post reported.
"I was privileged to work with him on four additional films including 'The Wiz'," Quincy Jones, Grammy Award-winning producer, said to CNN. "Future generations of filmmakers will look to Sidney's work for guidance and inspiration, but there will never be another who comes close to him."
According to CNN, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg described Lumet as "one of the great chroniclers" of New York City due to his films often using the city as both settting and as a figurative character.

Nicholas Maxim, a 10-year-old boy born without hands and lower arms, received an award Monday for his participation in an annual National Handwriting Contest.
Cheryl Hasenful, principle of Readfield school where Maxim attends, was so impressed with his handwriting that she entered a sample in educational publisher Zaner-Bloser's National Handwriting Contest, AOL News reported.
"We submitted his entry because we felt his penmanship was amazing considering he completes most of his work without using his prostheses," Hasenfus told CNN.
According to CNN, Maxim writes by holding a pen or pencil between his upper arms.
"It started with coloring," Terri Maxim, Nicholas' mother, told AOL News. "He does that in his spare time. It's not typical. He watches them and keeps up with the sports, but his true love, besides football and baseball, is writing."
According to the Washington Post, the judges who sifted through 200,000 handwriting entries in the contest, were so impressed by Maxim that they created a new category for students with disabilities.
The Washington Post reported that the judges said the new category for students with disabilities would inspire others.

Minneapolis Denies Circus

Minneapolis, for the first time, denied a request by a circus Monday to bring wild animals to the Minneapolis Convention Center on May 14 and 15.
By using regulations that were enacted in 2008, the city denied Piccadilly Circus, from Sarasota, Fla., a permit to bring its wild animals, the Star Tribune reported.
According to the Star Tribune, the circus had asked to bring a pair of kangaroos, eight ponies, an elephant, a monkey, and two lemurs.
Manager of Animal Care and Control of the city, Dan Niziolek, denied the application, and a City Council committee rejected the circus's appeal on Wednesday, the Star Tribune explained.
In a telephone interview from Florida, John Whitfield of Piccadilly Circus said that Minneapolis is the only city he has encountered that requires that the circus turn over animal care records, the Downtown Journal reported.
According to the Star Tribune, Niziolek said, in a letter to the company, that the circus didn't apply the required 90 days in advance of the event, did not provide required veterinary care records, or a filling fee.
The Star Tribune reported that Whitfield wrote to Minneapolis that a representative from the convention center would speak for the circus at Wednesday's Public Safety commitee meeting, which did not happen.