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April 26, 2009

Professor sought after three killings

Three people died Saturday when a University of Georgia professor opened fire at a community theater event in Athens, Ga., the New York Times reported.

The alleged gunman, George Zinkhan, 56, is still sought by police, the Augusta Chronicle reported.

The three victims of the shooting were Zinkhan's wife, Marie Bruce, 47; Tom Tanner, 40; and Ben Teague, 63.

Zinkhan may have injured as many as three other people, but seemed to target the three who were killed according to Rick Bedell, an actor with the Town and Gown Players, the Augusta Chronicle reported.

Zinkhan dropped his children off at a neighbor's house immediately before or after the attack, the New York Times reported. The children are currently in police custody.

Zinkhan taught marketing at the University of Georgia's business school.

April 19, 2009

NATO ships foil Somali pirate attacks

After Somali pirates attacked a Norwegian tanker Saturday, NATO ships and helicopters pursued them for seven hours in a chase that ended with warning shots being fired, a NATO spokesperson told USA Today.

A Canadian ship caught the pirates, but released them because they could not be prosecuted under Canadian law, the BBC reported.

An American ship, the USS Halyburton, was also part of the pursuit, USA Today reported.

The pirates dumped most of their weapons before they were stopped, but were disarmed of their remaining weapons and questioned before they were released, USA Today reported.

Both French and U.S. forces have recently taken action against the pirates, with U.S. troops killing three pirates and French troops killing one, the BBC reported.

More than 80 ships have been attacked by pirates this year, USA Today reported. They also are holding hostage 310 crewmembers from different ships.

April 12, 2009

Hostage captain freed from Somali pirates

Navy snipers freed an American ship captain Sunday in an operation that left three pirates dead and one captured, the Guardian reported.

Richard Phillips, 53, was taken hostage by the pirates Wednesday when he volunteered to board their lifeboat in order to protect his crew. The crew later regained control of the ship.

Negotiations for his release began between the FBI, Somali elders and the pirates, but yielded little progress, the Guardian reported.

At the time of the rescue, the lifeboat was being towed by the USS Bainbridge, the Star Tribune reported. One of the pirates was on the Bainbridge in negotiations, while the other three were in the lifeboat , one of them pointing an AK-47 at Phillips.

The captain of the Bainbridge ordered his men to fire, and the three pirates aboard the lifeboat were killed. The pirate aboard the Bainbridge was taken into U.S. custody, the Star Tribune reported.

Phillips was flown to San Diego after the rescue.

Somali pirates have not killed hostages in the past, but rescues such as this may make the pirates more ruthless, maritime analysts told the Guardian.

April 5, 2009

Three police officers killed in Pittsburgh

A gunman shot and killed three police officers at a home in Pittsburgh Saturday morning, the New York Times reported.

The policemen were responding to a domestic violence dispute when they were fatally shot. A four-hour standoff between a SWAT team and the gunman, Richard Poplawski, 22, ended when he surrendered.

Officers Stephen Mayhle and Paul Sciullo III came to the door in response to a domestic violence dispute between mother and son. Both were shot in the head. Officer Eric Kelly was getting out of his car when he was shot, but managed to call for assistance before his death, the New York Times reported.

Poplawski was armed a 22 long rifle, and AK-47 rifle and a pistol.

An emergency call had also been placed by Poplawski's mother, who was inside the house, during the incident, Pittsburgh police chief Nathan Harper told the BBC.

Poplawski has been charged with three counts of homicide, a weapons violation and aggravated assault, the BBC reported.

March 29, 2009

Six killed in nursing home shooting

Six people were killed and three injured in a shooting Sunday at a Carthage, N.C. nursing home, police told USA Today.

The shootings took place around 10 a.m. at Pinelake Health and Rehab Center, the Charlotte Observer reported. The victims were taken to the Moore Regional Hospital in Carthage.

The gunman is in custody, USA Today reported.

March 12, 2009

Iraqi journalist who threw shoes sentenced to three years in prison

The Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at former U.S. President George W. Bush in December was sentenced Thursday to three years in jail, the Kansas City Star reported.


Muntader al-Zaidi was found guilty of assault of an official during the execution of his duties, the New York Times reported.

His family and supporters wept outside the courtroom when they heard the sentence.

There is split opinion among Iraqi journalists about the justice of the verdict. Some believe Zaidi was expressing an opinion, and others believe he shamed Iraq with his actions, the New York Times reported.

The decision and sentence will be appealed, Dhiya al-Saadi, Zaidi's lead lawyer, told the New York Times.

March 8, 2009

Clinton says Obama plans to visit Turkey

President Barack Obama plans to visit Turkey during his European trip next month, according to a Saturday speech of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Boston Globe reported.

The visit to Turkey is part of Obama's pledge to engage in diplomacy with the Islamic world, Clinton said in her speech from Ankara, Turkey's capital.

Turkey will also likely have a place in the pull-out of Iraq, and may serve as an exit route for Americans, the Boston Globe reported.

Obama has also promised to give a speech from a Muslim capital as part of his diplomacy efforts, the Guardian reported. That speech is not planned for next month's visit to Turkey, however.

Obama plans to visit Turkey at the end of his trip to Europe.

March 1, 2009

Siegfried and Roy perform one final time

Illusionists Siegfried Fischbacher and Roy Horn held one-night comeback Saturday at a Las Vegas hotel, more than five years after a tiger attack ended their careers, the BBC reported.

The Bengal tiger responsible for the attack, Montecore, was also part of the performance.

The pair and tiger performed an illusion in which Fischbacher was put in a cage, and the cage was then covered. When the cage was uncovered, the tiger had replaced him. The pair received a standing ovation from the crowd.

The act was part of a benefit for the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, USA Today reported. It took place at the Bellagio hotel-casino.

Fischbacher and Horn were responsible for one of the biggest shows in Las Vegas history. They stopped performing after Montecore bit Horn's neck and dragged him offstage during a performance during October 2003, USA Today reported.

The attack damaged Horn's windpipe and neck artery. It left him partially paralyzed.

The pair believe the tiger was trying to protect Horn after sensing he had a mini-stroke. The theory is disputed by animal experts.

February 22, 2009

74 killed in China coal mine accident

A gas explosion in a north China coal mine Sunday killed at least 74 people, the China Daily reported.

The accident occurred in the Gujaio City mine, Tunlan Coal Mine of Shanxi Coking Coal Group, while 436 miners were working underground. Rescuers told the China Daily that 114 miners were hospitalized because of the accident, and six are in critical condition.

All of the trapped miners had been accounted for by late Sunday, the Lincoln Journal Star reported.

Most of the injuries were caused by carbon monoxide poisoning, the Xinhua News Agency told the Lincoln Journal Star.

Before this, The Tunlan Coal Mine of Shanxi Coking Coal Group hadn't had any major accidents for five years.

February 14, 2009

Saudi King reshuffles Cabinet

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has appointed the first woman to the council of ministries and sacked two powerful religious officials in a Cabinet shuffle, the BBC reported.

One man who was dismissed from his post was the country's senior judge, and the other was the head of a religious police force.

Noor Al-Fayez was appointed to the position as deputy minister for women's education, a new position on the Saudi Council of Ministers, CNN reported. King Abdullah's appointment of her was considered a progressive move.

This is King Abdullah's largest Cabinet shuffle since he came to power in 2005, CNN reported.

February 8, 2009

Gold-laden British ship found

Deep-sea explorers announced Monday that they found the wreckage of a British warship carrying four tons of gold coins, the Dallas Morning News reported.

The HMS Victory was one of the most important ships in British history, the Miami Herald reported. It sank in 1744.

The shipwreck was discovered by Odyssey Marine Exploration, based in Florida. The company is currently in negotiations with the British government over the project.

The ship was lost, presumably in a storm, in its way back from Portugal, the Miami Herald reported. It was crewed by 1,000 men and was carrying 100 brass cannons and 100,000 gold coins.

So far, two brass cannons have been recovered from the shipwreck, the Dallas Morning News reported.

Odyssey Marine Exploration won't disclose the exact location of the wreck so not to attract plunderers.

February 1, 2009

Obama's half brother arrested for marijuana possession

President Obama's half brother was arrested in Nairobi, Kenya, Saturday for possession of marijuana, the Dallas Morning News reported.

George Obama, who is in his 20s, allegedly had one joint of the drug on him, the area's police chief told BBC.

George Obama and the president share the same father, but have only met twice. He did not attend the president's inauguration, the Dallas Morning News said, although some of the president's Kenyan relatives did.

BBC reported that George Obama is studying to be a mechanic, and lives in Huruma with his extended family.

George Obama is scheduled to appear in court to face the drug charge Monday morning.