December 2009 Archives

GM to close Saab line

After talks with Dutch carmaker Spyker to sell Saab fell through, GM announced Friday that it will close its Saab line, according to USA Today.

The two companies realized they would not reach their goal for a deal by Dec. 31 due to issues that no amount of time would resolve.

The closing of the line will eliminate 3,400 jobs worldwide.

"This is a business that has struggled for more years than not," an executive vice president at G.M., John F. Smith, said.  "Sometimes things just don't work."

Saab filed for bankruptcy protection in February, and sold just 93,000 vehicles worldwide last year, according to the New York Times.

Valleyfair to be sold

The Shakopee amusement park Valleyfair is being sold, according to the Star Tribune.

The struggling owner, Cedar Fair LP based in Sandusky, Ohio, agreed to be aquired by Apollo Global Management for $635 million in cash, the company announced Thursday.

Cedar Fair LP also will be selling its other 10 amusement parks and seven water parks, according to the Pioneer Press.

The company has struggled with poor attendance due to the economy and rainy weather. Season-pass sales were also down this year.

Climate deal announced

After weeks of deliberation, a deal was reached in Copenhagen to combat global climate change Friday, but leaders recognized that it is only a first step and falls short of some expectations, according to the New York Times.

President Obama said,"It is going to be very hard, and it's going to take some time" to get to a legally binding treaty.

The agreement drops a goal of having a legally-bound treaty by 2010. This leaves the future specifics of the plan undecided.

A final deal reached by the 193 nations involved is likely to have a $100 billion long-term financing arrangement and a deal for all countries to keep their temperature rise no more than 2 degress Celsius, according to the Toronto Star.




Chris Henry dies at age of 26

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry died Thursday from injuries sustained during a domestic dispute, according to ESPN. He was 26.

According to authorities, Henry was involved in a domestic dispute with his fiancee Wednesday. When she tried to leave his residence in Charolette, Henry jumped in the back of the pickup, and fell out a half mile away, sustaining life-threating injuries.

Authorities have not released the cause of death. Henry was in Charolette planning his wedding, his season being cut short by a broken arm in a win against Baltimore on Nov. 22.

The receiver had problems off the field in the past, and was suspended by the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for half of the 2007 season. He was arrested for the fifth time on assault charges in mid-2008, and was released by the Bengals.

Henry received a second chance and was re-signed by the team before the 2008 season, according to Sporst Illustrated.

His teammates and coaches had noticed a changed in Henry, and were excited for the turnaround he had made.

"Nobody worked harder to rehabilitate his image than Chris. He realized he made mistakes and made positive changes to his life. As a result of these changes, he had become a man that all Bengals, and [the] NFL, fans could be proud of," Henry's agent said.


Man arrested in huge marijuana bust

A Waite Park, MN man was arrested Tuesday for possesion of $550,000 worth of marijuana, according to the Pioneer Press.

Authorities confiscated 146 pounds of marijuana from a storage facility in Sartell, and $22,000 a rifle and a handgun from the 46-year-old's home.

Authorities, who were working with Montana State Patrol, believe the drugs came from Canada, according to the Star Tribune.

The man will be arraigned Thursday for selling marijuana.

Analysis on records/CAR

In the USA Today, a reporter found that a recent recall of beef products did not include a recall from a school lunch program.

The reporters make it known in their report that they got a document under the Freedom of Information Act.

They found that although the government has a zero-tolerance policy for salmonella in food bound for schools, the meat was still released to the schools.

The reporters obviously needed to be able to analyze the various documents that they were able to obtain from the government and make sense of them. This would require the ability to make connections between the documents to make them relevant in the larger picture.

Along the sidebar, the reporters included these documents in pdf form, along with pictures of inspectors examining food products. They also included a table of the top providers of beef to schools.

Hundreds of protestors aressted in Copenhagen

Tens of thousands of demonstrators turned out in Copenhagen to show their support for the environment while delegates tried to reach an agreement on climate change Saturday, according to the New York Times.

Police and organizers estimated that there were 60,000 to 100,000 participators in the largest planned protest in the two weeks of climate talks.

968 demonstrators were detained by police Saturday, according to the Associated Press.

One officer received minor injuries from a rock thrown the group, and one protester was injured by fireworks.

The protests take place on day that saw the talks hitting a snag. Rich nations want developing countries to limit emissions with or without financial help.

Officials arrest 300 in California

Immagration officials arrested 300 foreign nationals who had commited serious crimes this week, according to the New York Times. 

Federal agents deported or detained the immigrants in the largest operation ever aimed at illegal immigrants with criminal records.

More than 80 percent had convictions for serious or violent crimes and more than 100 have been removed from the country.

About 400 officers and agents took part in the operation, which is part of a new program to arrest and deport immigrants with criminal records, according the Los Angeles Times.

The program has expanded rapidly since its start in 2003, and has recently ended a requirement to fill quotas which led to officials arresting immigrants with no criminal record.

Minnesota names 13 deadliest counties for drunk driving

Minnesota named its 13 deadliest counties for drunk driving Friday, which law enforcers said they will target more with drunken-driving patrols in the future, according to the Star Tribune.

Anoka, Dakota, Hennepin, Olmsted, Otter Tail, Ramsey, Rice, St. Louis, Scott, Sherburne, Stearns, Washington and Wright counties have accounted for more than half of the state's alcohol-related deaths over the past three years.

Hennepin, the most populated county, tallied the most deaths with 60 in 2006-08.

The counties have also resulted in 13,000 arrests in the last five years, according to the Pioneer Press.


A Minnesotan Bigfoot?

A Minnesota hunter caught a picture of a tall, hairy creature that have some speculating that is the image of Bigfoot, according to the Star Tribune.

Tim Kedrowski and his sons, Peter and Casey took the picture on Oct. 24 in their hunting land near Remer, Minn.

"I can't sit here and tell you I'm a 100 percent believer, but I'm a little less skeptical than I was before," Kedrowski said. "You don't go deer hunting looking for this kind of thing."

Scientists have been more skeptical, and have pointed to the fact that no one has ever found a Bigfoot carcass.

"All organisms die; they don't just go away," Blane Klemek, assistant wildlife manager with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in Bemidji said. "You'd think someone someday would find one."

Kedrowski sent the image to Don Sherman and Bob Olson of the Northern Minnesota Bigfoot Research Team, who determined the creature to be seven feet tall, according to the Pioneer Press. 

FBI questions Americans detained in Pakistan

FBI investigators have detained five Muslim American men in Pakistan, according to the New York Times.

The men, who are from the suburbs of Washington, are suspected of jihadist training with Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Pakistan to fight American troops in Afghanistan.

Although the men have not been charged with anything in Pakistan, American officials said they want to bring them back to the U.S. to be charged.

Officials said the men used internet sites like Facebook and Youtube to link up with extremists in Pakistan, according to NPR.

A search of the suspects' computers showed they had watched Youtube videos with U.S. troops fighting in Afghanistan.

"Basically most of the noise on the Internet are the clarion calls to battle from the jihadis, the inspirational and motivational messages that they communicate," said Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism expert at Georgetown University. "And there has really been almost no concerted, systematic and strategic effort to counter those messages."

Knox convicted of murder

Amanda Knox, an American college student, was convicted with her former Italian boyfriend of murder by an Italian court Saturday, according to the New York Times.

Knox was convicted of murdering her housemate while she was studying in Perugia, Italy. Knox, 22, was a student at the University of Washington and had no clear motive or history of violence.

After 12 hours of deliberation, the jury convicted Knox and her ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, 25, of murder. The two were sentenced to 26 and 25 years in prison respectively.

The key piece of evidence was the knife used to slit the victim's, Amanda Kercher, throat. Prosecuters said Knox's DNA was found on the knife, according to CNN.

A lawyer for the Kercher family, Francesco Maresca, called the ruling "a good sentence that fills us with satisfaction."

Hecker charges expected soon

An idictment by a federal grand jury agianst auto mogul  Denny Hecker and a high-ranking employee is "imminent," according to Pioneer Press.

According to court document filed Friday, Steve Leach, former president of Hecker's Rosedale Leasing is expected to be indicted also by Chrysler Financial that Hecker foraged documents to obtain financing.

Hecker has not been charged with any crimes and denies any wrongdoing.

Chrysler claimed that Hecker requested $65 million in November 2007 to obtain 4,855 vehicles from Hyundai Motor America. Hecker allegedly forged two letters from Hyundai, according to the Star Tribune.


Peterson speedy off the field, too

Minnesota Vikings all-pro running back Adrian Peterson may be known for his speed on the football field, but Saturday night saw him going too fast off of it.

Peterson was pulled over and given a citation for going 109 mph in a 55 mph zone on highway 62, according to the Pioneer Press.

Peterson, 24 said he was not going that fast.

The incident happened the night before the Vikings defeated the Bears at the Metrodome 36-10. Peterson had 85 yards and a touchdown. Peterson was in a rush in order not to miss a team meeting at a downtown hotel, according to KSTP.

The all-pro running back could lose his driver's license for the infraction, as Minnesota law requires revocation of a license for a driver doing more than 100 mph.

NATO to pledge additional troops

NATO leaders said 25 countries will back the U.S. escalation in Afghanistan with at least 7,000 troops Friday, according to the Washington Post.

The promise comes after President Obama's announcement on Monday that the U.S. would commit an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, and had been looking for 10,000 troops from the international community.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said she was "encouraged" by the news.

"Today, our people are weary of war. But we cannot ignore reality," she said.

The top NATO and U.S. commander in Europe said he expects several thousand more to be added to the 7,000, according to NPR.


Obama optimistic about job report

President Obama welcomed the fact that the U.S. has reportedly only lost 11,000 jobs in November, according to the New York Times.

Speaking in Allentown, Pa. Friday, the president also expressed caution, and saying, "we have a lot more work to do before we can celebrate." He also commented that the nation still needs to find new ways to create jobs.

The Labor Department reported Friday that the unemployment rate fell below than anytime since the start of the recession, according to NPR.

The unemployment decline was a surprise to most economists and the data was the strongest sine December 2007 when the recession first began, according to USA Today.

Republicans have produced a different perspective on the report, with House Republican Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, saying anyone who celebrates Friday's report "is out of touch with the American people."

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This page is an archive of entries from December 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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