June 2012 Archives

Pageant for Holocaust Survivors in Israel Concludes

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An organization in Israel concluded a pageant for Holocaust survivors Thursday where 14 women told their survival stories to an audience of around 500, the New York Times reported.

The competition has been thought of as exploitation by a group of 54 Holocaust survivors' organizations. Others found it "trivializing" and controversial, the New York Times reported.

Around 300 women registered to be a part of the competition. The winner, Hava Hershkovitz, said so many women participated because they wanted "to show that we're still here," the Star Tribune reported

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that judges must decide if a juvenile is sentenced to life without parole on a case-by-case basis, the Star Tribune reported.

The ruling was voted in 5-4 "along ideological lines," according the the Star Tribune.

The ruling does not outlaw all life without parole sentences for juveniles, but invalidates all state laws that made those sentences mandatory for homicide, the New York Times reported.

The decision was made based on scientific research that suggests children are much more likely to change and be rehabilitated than adults, the New York Times said.

The Supreme Court ruled on Arizona's recent immigration law Monday, saying three key parts are in conflict with federal law, the New York Times reported.

The three pieces of the law require immigrants to carry registration papers, make it a crime for illegal immigrants to look for work or have a job and allow police to arrest anyone they suspect are in the country illegal without a warrant, the Star Tribune reported.

The part of the law that was upheld requires Arizona state police to check the immigration status of the people they detain, The New York Times reported.

The Obama administration sued to stop the law soon after it was enacted, the Star Tribune reported.

Duluth Zoo flooded

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Lake Superior Zoo flooded, and a polar bear and two seals are being kept at the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory.

Lake Superior Zoo, which flooded in 2010, was devastated by massive flooding in Duluth Wednesday.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is calling for charges of animal cruelty to be brought against the zoo, the Pioneer Press reports.

At least 13 animals died in the flood.

Same-sex marriage bill funding

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Minnesotans United for All Families has raised over $3 million so far this year in opposition to the proposed bill to ban same-sex marriage in the state.

The organization supporting the bill, Minnesota for Marriage, has raise $1.4 million so far this year, the Star Tribune reports.

Minnesota for Marriage has not released any statistics on the people who donated, but Minnesotans United for All Families has posted a list of over 19,000 donors, the Pioneer Press reported.

One plan for the money received is to use it toward ad campaigns. Minnesotans United for All Families has already reserved advertising time for the three weeks before the election.

Heroin deaths on the rise in Minnesota

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Widespread heroin use in Minnesota has caused heroin-related deaths to skyrocket in recent years.

From 2010 to 2011, Hennepin County increased from eight heroin overdoses to 21. Anoka County rose from five to 13, and Ramsey County from three to 12, the Pioneer Press reported.

Hastings has a seemingly higher problem than other cities in the state, with six arrests for heroin of the 22,100 population, compared with eight arrests out of Burnsville's 60,300 residents and seven of Eagan's 64,200 residents, the Pioneer Press said.

The Star Tribune reports that heroin in the Twin Cities has been shown to be some of the strongest in the nation. Some of the heroin sold is up to 99 percent pure, compared with the national purity of 60 percent.

Unarmed monitors for the United Nations have been "locked down" in Syrian cities as violence escalates.

The U.N. said the work was suspended to protect the monitors, who are caught in the middle of a crossfire between government and rebel forces in Syria, the Star Tribune reports.

Head of the mission, Gen. Robert Mood, said the situation would be reviewed daily until conditions improve enough to end the suspension, NPR reports.

The monitors were part of a peace plan that has yet to be upheld fulling in the fighting country.

The Obama administration announced a new policy that grants young illegal immigrants the chance to stay, study and work in the country.

The temporary action, which allows for two-year work permits for qualifying individuals, was not run through Congress, the Star Tribune reported. Instead, it came from a memo from Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

The policy does not give anyone permanent citizenship or legal status, but allows illegal immigrants to receive driver's licenses, work permits and other important legal documents, the New York Times reported.

The change requires illegal immigrants to have entered the U.S. before they turned 16, have lived in the country for at least five years and to be under the age of 30. They must also be in school, high school graduates or military veterans in good standing, and they must have clean criminal records.

Secretary of State Mark Ritchie has declined to defend a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would require Minnesota voters to present valid photo ID when voting.

The Supreme Court is allowing the Legislature to intervene in a lawsuit against the proposal, along with at least six other organizations and the bill's sponsors, the Star Tribune reported. The intervening parties will be allowed to participate in oral arguments in the lawsuit.

The Legislature has hired an outside law firm to represent the case at a cost of $18,000, the Pioneer Press reported.

An Oregon man contracted the plague when he tried to take a dead rodent away from a cat, and was in critical condition as of Friday.

The man was one of five people who have contracted the plague in Oregon since 1995, the Star Tribune said.

The Star Tribune reports that cats are used to control rodent populations in rural areas. The bacteria that causes the plague is kept alive in rodent populations, as the populations survive the bacteria.

The Oregon man was not the first human to have the plague in 2012, the Associated Press reports.

Minnesota-based General Mills has publicly opposed the proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Minnesota.

General Mills is the second of major Minnesota-based companies to take a position on the ban, with many others declining to take an official position.

The Star Tribune reports that an increasing number of companies nationwide have been publicly speaking out against laws that limit marriage rights to heterosexual couples and praising actions to extend rights to same-sex couples.

The company has received backlash from organizations supporting the amendment. The chairman for one pro-amendment organization, Minnesota for Marriage, has called it "ironic and regrettable" that the company opposes the ban.

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