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December 8, 2007

Girl dies after being found shot outside Wisconsin bar

A 16-year-old girl died early Saturday after being found shot in the back outside Cera's Tequila Bar in Racine, according to the Star Tribune.

Police said they were called to the "tavern" at about 1:15 a.m. after a report of a fight, and found the girl outside.

The girl died shortly after being taken to a hospital, the police department said.

No one has yet been taken into custody.

November 21, 2007

Drunk, naked man causes Delaware I-95 wrecks

A naked, drunk man was arrested after he caused three accidents by running into highway traffic, Delaware police said, reported the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Two people stopped to try to help Ardonas Gilbert, 26, who was running naked along the southbound lanes of Interstate 95 Monday night. He responded by curing and punching them, Delaware State Police said.

Gilbert then ran into traffic, causing three separate accidents as drivers tried to avoid him, police said.

Gilbert was charged with two counts of assault and a single count of "being drunk on a highway."

November 15, 2007

US veterans suffering from a 'mental health epidemic'

According to London's The Times, suicide rates have been higher than military deaths among US soldiers--the rates have instigated claims that the US is suffering from a "mental health epidemic."

A minimum of 6,256 US veterans committed suicide in 2005, whereas 3,863 American military deaths have occurred in Iraq since 2003, the TImes reported. The newspaper also included that former servicemen are "more than twice as likely than the rest of the population to commit suicide."

The suicide rate among the American population as a whole in 2005 was about 8.9 out of 100,000; the level among veterans was at least 18.7 out of 100,000. The rates among veterans of the ages 20 to 24 rose to 22.9, the Times reported.

Approximately 1.6 million of the 25 million veterans in the United States served in Afghanistan and Iraq, The Times said.

November 10, 2007

Massachusetts establishes strict abortion protesting law

The Massachusetts legislature approved a bill Thursday that requires protesters to stand at least 35 feet from clinics that offer abortions, according to the New York Times.

Gov. Deval L. Patrick is expected to sign the bill--which passed the House in a 122-to-28 vote--next week, making it the nation's strictest state law establishing protester fixed zones, The Times said.

The current law, which was enacted in 2000, says protesters "cannot go within 6 feet of a person in an 18-foot zone outside a clinic, The Times said.

Democratic Rep. Carl M. Sciortino Jr. said that the main purpose of the goal is to make sure patients and staff can enter the health facilities without being physically and verbally harassed.

Ten reproductive health clinics in Massachusetts offer abortions.

November 2, 2007

Jewish Columbia professor target of bias

A swastika was found spray-painted on a Jewish professor's office door at Columbia University Wednesday morning, according to the New York Times.

Professor Elizabeth Midlarsky is a clinical psychologist who has done studies on the Holocaust was notified of the swastika by the Teachers College associate provost. This was the third time she was the target of bias, the New York Times said.

The police said they have no suspects.

Similar hate acts have also occurred in recent weeks involving a black professor and a Brooklyn principal, the Times said.

October 28, 2007

FEMA anti-fraud efforts in California

According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the Federal Emergency Management Agency paid an estimated $1 billion in fraudulent claims in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita; FEMA officials said they are determined to prevent similar abuses in the case of the California fires.

California officials said that a total of about 2,000 houses had been damaged or destroyed so far, compared to the 300,0000 affected by the hurricane.

FEMA inspectors must now visit homes to confirm the damage before distributing money.

October 21, 2007

Addicts may be able to indulge at San Fransisco injection sites

San Fransisco health officials are in the process of opening the nation's first legal safe-injection room where drug addicts could shoot heroin, cocaine and other drugs under nurse supervision in hope of decreasing the city's high rate of fatal overdoses, the Minnesota Daily reported Friday.

The only facility similar to that in the potential plans is a 4-year-old Vancouver site where about 700 i.v. users a day use narcotics under nurse supervision, where the public health department co-sponsored a symposium, the Daily included in the article.

Organizers of the event said that it could take years to get such a facility "up and running."

"Sixty-five similar facilities exist in 27 cities in eight countries, but no other U.S. cities have considered creating one," according to Hilary McQuie, Western director for the Harm Reduction Coalition.

Grant Colfax, director of HIV prevention for the San Francisco Department of Public Health, estimated that there are between 11,000 and 15,000 intravenous drug users in San Francisco, most of whom are homeless men.

October 13, 2007

Bodyless feet found in a Chicago suburban street

Two human feet detached at the ankles were found Friday night in the intersection of a south Chicago suburb, according to county medical authorities, reported the Chicago Tribune Saturday.

The feet were found at about 9:30 p.m. and seemed to have been recently cut, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office. The feet appeared to be those of a white male.

No other body parts were found and no further information was available about the victim, though Cook County police are further investigating the situation, the Chicago Tribune said.

October 6, 2007

Scientists discover appendix's use

Scientists have developed the theory that the appendix does, in fact, serve a purpose, which is to produce and protect good germs of the digestive system, reported the Star Tribune Saturday.

This conclusion is based on the theory of surgeons and immunologists at Duke University Medical School.

"The function of the appendix seems related to the massive amount of bacteria populating the human digestive system," according to a study in the Journal of Theoretical Biology. "Most of it is good and helps digest food."

However, sometimes bacteria in the intestines die or are "purged by disease." In such a case, the appendix's job is to re stabilize the body's digestive system.

September 24, 2007

Miss America Organization neglecting to pay up scholarship money

Contestants of the Miss America Pageant have been encountering obstacles when trying to collect their scholarship funds from the Miss America Organization, reported the New York Times Monday.

Ashley Wood, who was crowned as Miss South Carolina in 2004 enrolled in the University of Pennsylvania's business school this fall and has yet to receive any of the scholarship money she was promised after winning the pageant more than two years ago, said the Times.

Wood was told she would not be granted the $20,000 scholarship because her two local pageants did not pay her yet. Both groups backed out on the scholarship.

“It’s like a game of gotcha,? Wood said. “What is very clear to me is that the goal is to not give out the scholarships if at all possible.?

The report further explains how pageant directors of the Miss America Organization apparently have issues with returning phone calls and emails, and have been known to close down local pageants before scholarship distribution.

Pageant organizers, however, say such problems occur as a result of contestants' lack of punctuality or thoroughness.

The Miss America Organization assured that they are looking into the allegations and promised that they have not purposely withheld any scholarships from pageant participants.

“To my knowledge there is not a single contestant in the state of South Carolina who has abided by the rules who has not been paid? Gail M. Sanders, comptroller of the Miss South Carolina contest, said. Sanders declined to discuss Ms. Wood’s case.

Safiya Songhai, Miss Five Boroughs of New York in 2004, also said she confronted issues in receiving her scholarship money.

“Basically, if I hadn’t gone after them, I wouldn’t have gotten my money,? Songhai said. “There is no real checks and balances to make sure the contestants get their money.? She also added, “[Miss Five Boroughs Scholarship Pageant] is disorganized and [...] bad with money management.?

State pageant contestants have little control over resolving the scholarship issues besides taking the matter to court, however, the legal expenses make the scholarship not worth fighting for.

September 19, 2007

Warning: Escalators may crave a taste for your Crocs

The ever-popular brand of clogs, Crocs, have been posing as a threat to the safety of many consumers, particularly children, said the Star Tribune Monday.

The Washington Metro has even posted signs cautioning riders that wearing such shoes on moving stairs can be dangerous.

A 4-year-old boy from Virginia got his foot caught in an escalator last month, ripping off nearly the entire toenail on his big toe. All serious accidents involving Crocs or similar shoes have involved young children.

Ironically, the two biggest selling points of shoes such as Crocs--their flexibility and grip--are the largest contributing factors to accidents like that previously mentioned.

There have not been any known litigation filed in Minnesota over the issue; however, the government in Japan has received 29 reports of Crocs or similar shoes getting stuck in escalators from late August to early September.

September 15, 2007

Marbury's sexual encounter devalues testimony in sexual harassment suit

According to MSNBC, "Stephon Marbury testified Wednesday in the case of a fired team executive who has accused [Knicks] coach, Isiah Thomas, of sexual harassment."

"Browne Sanders [said] she is owed her vice president position back and at least $10 million for enduring a sexually harassing workplace for five years," as she claimed she was fired for "telling the truth" about crude behavior and "unwanted advances" by Thomas.

Marbury considered the lawsuit, filed by Vice President Anucha Browne Sanders, a joke. Not only did he make light of the lawsuit, but also acted nonchalant regarding a sexual encounter with a drunken intern.

The plaintiff made reference to a conversation with an MSG intern, who told her Marbury lured her to his car for sex after a drunken outing to a strip club; the intern was concurrently in a relationship with one of Marbury's cousins.

Marbury allegedly left the courthouse smiling and singing aloud. When asked to share more information about his relationship with the intern, he replied with a compliment on a reporter's shoes.

The New York Post's story covering the sexual harassment trial starts with a focus on the scandalous sexual relations between Stephon Marbury and a team intern.

Marbury was also forced to "admit to further encounters with the intern after the April 2005 incident, but the judge quickly cut off the questioning because Marbury is not a defendant in the lawsuit [...] filed by Knicks executive Anucha Browne Sanders."

When Marbury was asked if he disliked Sanders he said that he "never even had thought about her" and didn't have a reason to not like her, but was later forced to admit that he vented his anger at her to another team executive.

The article further reported that Sanders testified that "Marbury had always disliked her, refusing to participate in promotional events and demanding special privileges against team rules."

After learning that Marbury had been cursing behind her back, she made additional complaints only to have the Knicks president threaten her professional reputation.