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September 28, 2008

SUV Kills St. Paul Bicyclist

A Minneapolis man driving an SUV hit a St. Paul woman riding her bike near Summit and Snelling Avenues in St. Paul on Saturday, reported The Star Tribune.
Virginia Heuerbowar, 51, was hit riding her bike east on Summit Avenue said Pete Panos, a spokesman for St. Paul police.
The unidentified driver, 39, was also heading east on a service road and appears to have hit Heuerbowar when his road merged with hers.
Heuerbowar was taken to Regions Hospital in St. Paul where, despite wearing a helmet, she died of severe head injuries seven hours after the crash, reported The St. Paul Pioneer Press.
The driver was not issued a ticket while investigators continue determining exactly how the accident occurred.
The driver maintained he stopped before entering the Summit Avenue intersection.

Medevac Helicopter Crashes Killing 4

A medevac helicopter carrying five passengers, crashed in suburban Washington D.C., early Sunday, killing four, reported The Star Tribune.
Two police officers, including the pilot, died in the crash, as well as an Emergency Medical Services staffer and one of the victims of a traffic accident, said Mark Brady, a spokesman for the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department. Brady reported the other traffic accident victim survived the crash.
On its way to Prince George's County Hospital, the aircraft was diverted to land at Andrews Air Force Base due to bad weather. The pilot radioed for additional landing instructions but was not heard from afterward.
The accident is one of the deadliest since Maryland State Police started using medevac helicopters 40 years ago, reported The New York Times.
Nationwide, it is the eighth fatal medical helicopter crash this year.
According to Debbie Hersman, a member of the National Transportation Safety Board, 30 people have died in those crashes, prompting a public hearing on the issue.

Pirates Demand $35 Million For Hijacked Ship

Pirates hijacked a ship carrying 33 tanks and a crew of 35 on Saturday off the coast of Somalia, reported The New York Times.
The hijackers took The Faina, a Ukrainian-owned vessel, to Xarardheere, an isolated, fishing village and an active pirate hiding place for hijacked ships, after capturing it 200 miles off the coast of Somalia. The Star Tribune reported two other ships may also be hidden at Xarardheere, including a Greek chemical tanker with a crew of 19.
According to Rear Adm. Gregory Smith, an American military spokesman, the United States Navy has a ship, The Howard, in the area but no immediate rescue plans.
Despite The Faina's hostile cargo which included 33 Soviet-designed T2 tanks, ammunition and grenade launchers, Mohamed Osman Aden, a Somali diplomat in Kenya, doesn't think the captors are interested in it.
“These guys just want the money,? he said.
As for the hostages, a spokesman on board, speaking via a Russian website, Life.ru, said the crew members were in, "not good, but normal" condition.
The spokesman, Vladimir Nikolsky, identified as the captain's senior assistant, said the ship's captain was suffering from heat stroke.
Attacks like these are becoming increasingly common in a lawless Somalia. Just this year, over 50 ships were attacked and 25 hijacked off the coast of Somalia, 15 of which are still being held.

September 21, 2008

Motorcycle Accident May Have Been Murder; Victim's Boyfriend Arrested

Police arrested a 33-year-old man after his girlfriend, 28, died in a motorcycle accident they believe he may have staged, reported The St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Police found Natasha Waalen of Anoka, lying in the street along the 16800 block of Tulip Street Northwest in Andover near her motorcycle.
"There are multiple factors that are not consistent with a motor vehicle accident," said a statement from the Anoka County sheriff's office. The statement mentioned the nature of Waalen' s wounds but did not elaborate on the cause of her death.
The suspect, Ryan Boland, lived with Waalen and their 4-year-old daughter and had known the victim for 10 years.
Waalen's dad, Jeff, said he cannot make sense of both his daughter's death and Boland's arrest, reported The Star Tribune.
"They're barking up the wrong tree" he said, referring to Boland's arrest. Jeff Waalen said he thinks police should investigate the man who threatened to kill his daughter over a potential lawsuit instead.

Killer Of Forest Officer Was Wanted For Probation Violation

The Washington Department of Corrections was already looking for an Everett man before he shot and killed a US Forest Department officer and an unidentified man on Saturday, reported The Seattle Times.
Shawn M. Roe, 36, who was killed in a police shootout Saturday night, was wanted for failing to show up to a meeting with his probation officer on Aug. 29. Roe had at least two prior convictions for domestic-related incidents.
Roe shot Kristine Fairbanks, a 20-year veteran of the agency, after she pulled him over for driving a van without license plates, reported The New York Times.
After abandoning his van in a densely wooded area, authorities believe Roe traveled on foot to a nearby house and shot an unidentified man in his 60s. Roe then stole the man's white pickup truck.
With the help of various tipsters, local authorities tracked down Roe at the Longhouse Market and Deli and attempted to apprehend him. Roe opened fire on the officers who returned fire, ultimately shooting and killing the suspect.
Authorities say Roe had been staying at the Dungeness Forks Campground in the Olympia National Forest 10 days before the killings.

Taliban, al-Qaida Suspected in Pakistan Marriott Bombing

Officials believe Taliban militants and their al-Qaida allies are responsible for the Islamabad Marriott Hotel bombing on Saturday night, which killed 53 and wounded 266 reported The Star Tribune.
“Our enemies don’t want to see democracy flourishing in the country,? said Rehman Malik, a senior Interior Ministry official. He added that the bombing was an attempt to undermine the integrity and economy of Pakistan.
Malik said the blast, already considered one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in Pakistan's history, left a crater 60 feet wide and 25 feet deep, reported The New York Times. He said the bombers used more than 1,300 pounds of explosives in the attack.
Officials said the Taliban and al-Qaida might have worked together on the attack.
Mahmood Shah, a former government security chief for Pakistan's tribal areas, said while the bombing could have been a classic al-Qaida operation, the Taliban also had the means and motivation to carry out an attack of this magnitude.
Malik said Pakastani officials would carry out an investigation of the bombing but they would do so without aid from the United States. "We don’t need any help; we reject it."

September 15, 2008

3 Stabbed in Late Night Attack

Three people were stabbed early Saturday morning on Lake St. in Minneapolis, reports The Star Tribune.
A 40-year-old woman and a 26-year-old man were stabbed in the chest and a 24-year-old woman was stabbed in the arm outside the Taco Bell on Third Avenue South and Lake Street.
The Pioneer Press reports all three remain hospitalized at Hennepin County Medical Center in unknown condition as Minneapolis police investigate the triple stabbing.
Police Sgt. William Palmer said witnesses saw a man and a woman flee the scene. Police say they have no other suspects
Palmer says they have not identified a possible motive but have ruled out robbery.

Train Crashes Near Los Angeles Killing 25

At least 25 people died Friday after their train ran a red signal, crashing head-on into a freight train, reported the New York Times.
According to a rail line spokeswoman, Denise Tyrrell, preliminary reports say an engineer failed to stop at a red signal, causing the wreck.
The accident is reportedly the nation's deadliest since 1993 when an Amtrak train crashed in Mobile, Ala., killing 47.
The Metrolink train was carrying 222 passengers as it made its way to Ventura County from Los Angeles, reports The Star Tribune.
Officials say 25 were killed, including the engineer, and 135 were injured. Officials expect the death toll to rise, however, because 40 passengers remain in critical condition.
The National Transportation Safety Board is still investigating the cause of the wreck. They said while human error may have been a factor in the crash, they cannot rule out equipment malfunction and track conditions as possible causes and will continue to investigate all scenarios.
A safety board member Kitty Higgins advised against snap judgments in assigning blame, citing a previous train crash in which similar accusations turned out to be false.
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger visited the scene, and responded, "the investigation, of course, continues on."

Scientist Celebrate Large Hadron Collider

Scientists, in an underground laboratory near Geneva, successfully launched the world's largest particle accelerator on Wednesday, reported The New York Times
“It’s a fantastic moment,? said Lyn Evans, the director of the collider project since it began in 1994. "We can now look forward to a new era of understanding about the origins and evolution of the universe.?
Referred to as the Large Hadron Collider, the 17-mile long tunnel is capable of accelerating protons to an energy of seven trillion electron volts, recreating the environment one trillionth of a second after the Big Bang took place.
Scientists at the CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research and the largest particle physics laboratory in the world, hope the collider will lead to revolutionary discoveries in physics.
Among many other things, scientists await experiments involving the creation of Higgs boson, a theoretical particle physicists believe gives particles their mass, reported the Hartford Courant.
Not everybody is excited about the collider's revolutionary power, however. Many worry about its potential ability to create black holes and have dubbed it the "Doomsday Machine."
CERN scientists aver the collider's safety but admit they do not know what will happen once the collider is fully operational.
“That there are many theories means we don’t have a clue,? said Dr. Pier Oddone, director of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois. “That’s what makes it so exciting.?