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April 26, 2009

QB Stafford is First Pick in NFL Draft

Matthew Stafford was named the number one overall pick in the NFL draft on Saturday, after being selected by the Detroit Lions.

Stafford, a quarterback for the University of Georgia, led the Bulldogs to a 27-7 record while throwing 51 touchdown passes versus 33 interceptions, Reuters reports.

The Lions signed Stafford to the biggest contract ever for a draft pick, with a $72 million contract with over $41 million guaranteed.

Fans in the Radio City Music Hall venue booed when commissioner Rodger Goodell announced Stafford’s name.

April 19, 2009

Man Charged With Four Counts of Manslaughter In Driving Accident

The man suspected of being intoxicated when he drove his vehicle into a rain-filled ditch that drowned five children riding with him was charged with four counts of intoxication manslaughter, the New York Times reported Sunday.

A Houston police spokesperson told the Times that Chanton Jenkins, 32, was charged Sunday. Police are still looking for the body of one of the five children.

Police said Jenkins failed a field sobriety test after the crash and that he apparently lost control of his car while on a cell phone. It is not known yet whether Jenkins has an attorney.

Police told CNN that the bodies of the children found were identified as a girl, 1, and three boys, ages 4, 6, and 7

April 12, 2009

Barge Captain Freed

Cargo ship captain Richard Phillips was rescued Sunday from Somali pirates, five days after he was taken hostage, Reuters reports.

U.S. Navy snipers shot and killed three Somali pirates who were holding Phillips captive in a lifeboat.

Navy officers judged that Phillips’ life was in danger when snipers aboard a destroyer shot his captors, freeing him and killing three of the four men holding him. The fourth man was taken into custody.

The U.S. Navy commander who gave the order to shoot listed deteriorating weather conditions and negotiation breakdowns as reasons to believe Phillips was endangered, saying that they were “pointing AK-47’s at the captain.”

According to CNN, this is the first time in modern history that the United States has a pirate who carried out an attack on an American citizen in custody. Figuring out what to do with the pirate is a sensitive issue.

Adm. Rick Gurnon, head of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, where Phillips trained, said he wasn’t really worried for him.

"I actually was more concerned for his family," Gurnon said. "As a captain in sea, in a lifeboat, he was comfortable -- even if he was sharing it with Somali pirates."

April 5, 2009

New York Times Co Threatens to Close Boston Globe

The New York Times Co has threatened to end operations at the Boston Globe unless the Globe’s unions can agree to over $20 million in concessions, Reuters reported Friday.

Executives from the company made the demands Thursday morning, during a meeting with leaders of the newspaper’s 13 separate unions, the Globe reported.

Boston Newspaper Guild president Daniel Totten said that possible concessions for the paper could be pay cuts, ending pension contributions by the company, and eliminating lifetime job guarantees for veteran staff. The guild is the Globe’s biggest union representative, with over 700 advertising, business and editorial employees.

The Boston Globe is the 14th-largest U.S. daily paper by circulation, and was purchased by the Times Co in 1993, for a record setting $1.1 billion, the Associated Press reports.

The 137-year-old paper has lost money in recent years, and the Times Co is now $1.1 billion in debt.

Boston University communications professor Tobe Berkovitz called the threat a “huge warning shot across the bow of the newspaper industry.”

“If this can happen to the storied Boston Globe,” Berkovitz added, “pretty much nothing is safe.

Saturday executives announced that the Boston Globe has 30 days to reach a decision.

March 29, 2009

GM CEO Fired

General Motors Chief Executive Rick Wagoner will step down as CEO of GM, part of the federal government’s plan to bail out the struggling company, CNN reported Sunday.

Wagoner’s resignation is believed to be due to increased pressure by the Obama administration for an internal restructuring by GM. The administration has blamed mismanagement over the years for some of the automaker’s financial problems.

GM has not yet confirmed the decision, however a White House official told Reuters that it was done at the request of the administration, Reuters reports.

There has been no indication who will replace Wagoner, however many speculate Fitz Henderson, GM’s chief operating officer and No.2 executive, is widely considered the leading internal candidate.

The move comes two days before the appointed deadline for GM and its smaller competitor, Chrysler, to prove to the Treasury Department that they can be viable in the long term. If the Treasury does not find the companies viable, the government can recall the $17.4 billion it has already loaned the two companies.

Wagoner was a 32-year company veteran and had been CEO since 2000. Prior to becoming CEO, he was chief operating officer and led GM’s North America Branch.

March 14, 2009

Washington Post Cuts Business Section

The Washington Post is no longer including a business section in their paper for six days out of the week, CNN reported Friday.

The decision is aimed at saving money on newsprint during a time when newspaper profits are falling sharply. In a memo, Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli said that the cut would enable the Post to keep providing readers with the content they want.

“We remain absolutely committed to the strongest, in-depth and authoritative coverage of business locally,” the memo said.

"The A section gets more readers than the Business section, so we'll have more readers for our business coverage. We aren't changing the size of the staff," Brauchli told Reuters.

The Post will no longer run listings of daily stock movements and will limit coverage to a half page with only major stocks represented.

March 8, 2009

Pastor Shot Dead During Service

An Illinois pastor was gunned down in during a church service early Sunday morning, according to CNN.

Fred Winters, pastor at First Baptist Church of Mayryville, a St. Louis suburb, was shot and killed during his 8 a.m. service. His attacker and two parishioners suffered knife wounds in the attack, Illinois police spokesman Ralph Timmins told CNN.

The gunman walked in during the service and approached the pulpit, firing when he was met by Winters, Timmins said. A police dispatcher told CNN that the pastor was shot three times.

According to Timmins, the gunman used a .45-caliber pistol that jammed after he shot Winters. The attacker then pulled out a knife and turned it on himself before he was tackled by some of the worshippers in the church. Two of the people who went after the attacker suffered non-life-threatening knife injuries while the attacker’s condition is considered very serious.

The Associated Press reports that Winters used his bible to deflect the first of four shots fired at him, and that only one of the four shots fired at the pastor struck him.

A St. Louis University Hospital spokeswoman, Lauren Keller, told CNN that three males, including the suspect, were brought to the hospital. One was dead on arrival, but the hospital was not releasing names and ages. She also said that a second man was in an operating room, and the third was the suspect, whose condition was not available.

The Associated Press reports that no one at the church recognized the shooter.

March 1, 2009

2 NFL Players Missing Off Florida Coast

Two NFL players are among those on board a boat reported missing off the coast in Florida, CNN reports.

Defensive end Corey Smith, who played last season for the Detroit Lions and linebacker Marquis Cooper, who played with the Oakland Raiders, went out deep sea fishing with two other men early Saturday morning in Clearwater, Florida but never returned, according to Reuters.

The Coast Guard issued a small boat advisory Sunday in the area the boat was believed to be in, citing dangerous conditions with winds up to 30 miles per hour and seas up to 14 feet offshore.

The 21-foot-boat was reported missing Saturday afternoon and the Coast Guard began to search for the boat at about 2 a.m. Sunday. Rough weather hampered the search but the search is still ongoing.

February 22, 2009

Boy Charged with The Murder of His Father's Pregnant Girlfriend

An 11-year-old Pennsylvania boy is charged with killing his father’s pregnant girlfriend authorities said Saturday.

According to the Associated Press, Jordan Brown was charged as an adult Saturday with the death of 26-year-old Kenzie Houk, who was eight months pregnant.

Police say the boy shot Houk in the back of the head as she lay in bed Friday morning, CNN reports. He then put the youth model 20-gauge shotgun back into his room and went to school.

Houk’s body was found by her 4-year-old daughter, who told tree cutters on the property that she thought her mom was dead, Lawrence County District Attorney John Bongivengo told the Associated Press.

When questioned by police, the Brown told them that there was a black truck at the scene that morning, which led investigators to follow a false lead for around five hours, Bongivengo said. Inconsistencies in Brown’s description of the vehicle led police to interview Houk’s daughter, who implicated Brown in the killing.

She didn't actually eyewitness the shooting. She saw him with what she believed to be a shotgun and heard a loud bang," Bongivengo told the Associated Press.

The motive for the killing is unclear, police say. Houk’s father, Jack Houk, could only come up with one reason.

“Maybe he was just jealous of my daughter and the baby and thought he would be overpowered,” Jack Houk said.

Defense attorney Dennis Elisco said he plans to ask for the boy to be released on bail Monday and for the case to be moved into juvenile court. Elisco also wants to see physical evidence that ties Brown to the murder.

“I don’t think he knows what’s going on,” Elisco said, “I walked out of there thinking he was innocent. I believe Jordan did not do this.”

Brown was arraigned and is currently held in the Lawrence County Jail with a preliminary hearing scheduled for Thursday.

February 15, 2009

Zimbabwe Official Arrested

A Zimbabwe Cabinet minister has been arrested on charges of terrorism, sabotage, and conspiracy to commit banditry.
Roy Bennett is a white coffee grower who opposed President Robert Mugabe and whose farms were seized during a controversial land reform program. (Reuters)
The Movement for Democratic Change had nominated Bennett to become the deputy minister of agriculture under the new national unity government in collaboration with President Mugabe.
Bennett, who is also the Treasurer General, was taken into custody Friday, the same day that other MDC ministers were taking their swearing-in oaths.
Hundreds of party members and supporters on Friday surrounded the Mutare police station where Bennett is being held, CNN reports.
Bennett had been living in exile in South Africa for two years after fleeing Zimbabwe because police were investigating him in connection with an arms cache discovery.

Stimulus Bill Passed

President Barack Obama and Congress have finally agreed on the value of the stimulus bill.
According to CNN, congressional negotiators said Wednesday that the two sides had agreed upon $789 billion in emergency tax cuts and spending.
The giant stimulus package is the government's attempt to to reverse a deep recession. The package has about 36% of the money headed towards tax cuts and the remaining going towards increased spending, Reuters reports.
The measure had been stalled because the two houses were unable to agree between an $820 billion House bill and an $838 billion Senate proposal, with the president setting Monday as the deadline to get a bill passed.
The bill had little support from Republicans, and although Democrats control both Congress chambers, it took support from a handful of moderate Republicans to make it through both houses.
In order to ease Republican concerns, negotiators in the House and Senate scaled back earlier package proposals.
“The middle ground we've reached creates more jobs than the original Senate bill and spends less than the original House bill,? Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told Reuters.
Many members of congress are unhappy with the bill. Not a single Republican voted for the House version of the bill, yet Democrats were able to push it through even though 11 Democrats voted against it.
“You couldn't pick up one Republican in the House, and you lost 11 Democrats. You've lost more Democrats than you've picked up Republicans. That's not bipartisanship.? Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, told CNN.

February 8, 2009

Texan Man who Died In Prison Exonerated

A Texan man who died in prison was cleared of all charges on Friday.
Timothy Cole was arrested for raping Texas Tech University student Michele Mallin in 1985. Cole died in 1999, at the age of 39, from asthma-related complications,the Associated Press reports.
DNA tests taken in 2008 connects the rape to Jerry Wayne Johnson, who is serving life in prison for other rape convictions.
“I am responsible,? Johnson told CNN, “I say I am truly sorry.?
Mallin had picked Cole's picture from a collection of possible subjects and she later picked him out of a physical lineup.
“I was positive,? she said, “I really thought it was him.?
However, the student had told police that the suspect was a smoker. Cole was an asthmatic.
According to his brother, Corey Session, Cole “was never a smoker? and that “he was the sacrificial lamb. To them, my brother was the Tech rapist, there was no backtracking.? (CNN)
Mallin told the AP that she felt guilty the wrong man had gone to jail, and she told Johnson that she was “going to try to forgive you, but it's going to take a long hard time. No woman deserves it. No person deserves what that man got. He could have been a father.?
Cole could have taken a lighter sentence by admitting guilt but he insisted on his innocence and was sentenced to 25 years in jail.
Corey Session, Cole's mother, says that she has nothing against Mallin.
“We don't blame Michele. She's very gracious.?

January 29, 2009

Peanut Company Knew More Than They Let On

The peanut company linked to the recent salmonella outbreaks may have known about the contamination before their products were shipped.
According to the Pioneer Press, Peanut Corp. knowingly shipped contaminated peanut butter a total of 12 times over the past two years.
Health inspectors reported roach sightings, a leaky roof and mold amidst other health violations at the Georgia plant, reported the Star Tribune.
Peanut Corp. has now issued a recall that includes all peanut products manufactured since Jan. 1, 2007, which affects over a hundred different products ranging from ice cream to dog biscuits.
A lawyer who has been filing lawsuits against food companies for over 15 years said that he's never seen anything like it, while the peanut industry's trade group is also shocked.
“This apparent failure to follow food safety regulations must be condemned in the strongest possible terms.? Patrick Archer, the president of the American Peanut Council, told the Star Tribune in a statement.
Overall, the salmonella outbreak has killed eight people across the country, including three in Minnesota, while sickening another 500.
Georgia's agriculture commissioner has called for a criminal investigation of the company, but the Food and Drug Administration said that such a step is premature while its own investigation continues.