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November 30, 2008

Giants Reciever Palxico Burress Shoots Himself in the Leg

Giants football star Plaxico Burress accidently shot himself in the leg Friday night reports the New York Times and nfl.com.

This self-inflicted injury occurred in this right thigh, and is not life threatening says Adam Scheftner of the NFL Network. (nfl.com)

Both publications say that the accident occurred at an unnamed nightclub, and that Burress was released from the hospital on Saturday.

The New York Times also mentioned that the accident occurred four hours after he was told he would not play in the upcoming game on Sunday due to his hamstring injury.

The Giants organization did not say much about the incident because they were still trying to figure the facts and they said the event could end up involving the law enforcement. (NY Times and nfl.com)

This incident added to Burress’s growing list of controversies during the year for the 31-year-old receiver.

He has received multiple fines this year. He was fined $45,000 for verbally abusing an official and tossing a ball into the stands during the Oct. 19 game against the San Francisco 49ers. He was fined $117,500 for missing a team meeting without notifying the team, though he claims it was due to a family emergency. He was also fined $25,000 for not participating in a mandatory mini camp in June. (nlf.com). The New York Times also says that he was held out of the first quarter of the against the Steelers for failing to get his neck and shoulder injury treated the day before the game. However, his easy-going personality and play making on the field have helped him not to get the boot off the team says the NY Times.

November 29, 2008

All Cigarettes in Minnesota Must Be Fire-Proof Soon

All cigarettes sold in Minnesota must be fire proof starting Dec. 1 says WCCO and The Star Tribune.

These cigarettes make the fire chief happy as the law states that all cigarettes must self-extinguish if left unattended for too long. (Star Tribune)

For the cigarettes to do this they are wrapped in thin bands of less porous paper so the tobacco burns more slowing and eventually will extinguish. (Star Tribune)

This measure is a precaution to help avoid death due to fire and home fires. Cigarettes are the leading cause of home fires in the U.S. said Nyle Zikmund of the Minnesota Fire Chiefs Association. Zimund also said this new law is the most important fire-safety law in the last 30 years. (Star Tribune)

These fire-proof cigarettes are made by all cigarette manufactures said WCCO. They also said that “smoking-related fires are the number one cause of fire deaths across the country.?

WCCO put the cigarettes to the test. They said that the normal cigarette took 16 minutes to burn out while the fire-proof one went out in just three minutes.

WCCO said that the cigarettes are wrapped in thicker paper and that it is the thicker points that act like speed bumps and help to extinguish the cigarette.

“Anything we can do to reduce fires, especially smoking-related fires, I think is a good idea,? Minneapolis Fire Marshall Bryan Tyner said. (WCCO)

Rampage in India by Terrorists Has Ended

The terror rampage is over in Mumbai, India, say officials reports The Associated Press and the TimesOnline.

The 60-hour rampage that killed 195 people ended Saturday say both publications. Of the dead, 18 were foreigners, and six of those were Americans. This toll is also expected to rise as the hotels continued to be cleared out and more bodies are likely to be found inside them says the Times.

The last remaining gunman was located in the burning Taj Mahal hotel says the TimesOnline. He was killed by the Indian commandos.

The AP says that rampage ended on Saturday when the last three gunmen were found in the Taj Mahal and killed by the Indian commandos.

Now that the rampage is over, the question is who is behind the attacks?

A Muslim group that was previously unknown, Deccan Mujahideen, and possibly from India, claimed responsibility for the acts says that AP. But Indian officials didn’t take this claim to heart and instead look at the neighboring Pakistan. It didn’t help the case that the last surviving gunman was from Pakistan. (AP)

The Muslim group said that two of the terrorists were British-born Pakistanis. However, no evidence has been found to support this claim. (Times)

The Pakistan Prime Minister said on Friday that his country was not to blame in the matter, and he promised to help find out who was responsible. (Times)

Some FBI agents have been sent to India to help in the investigation of who committed the attacks says the Times and AP.

This attack on the India was the second deadliest for the nation. The deadliest claimed 257 lives in Mumbai in 1993. That times the city was attacked with serial bombs.

November 28, 2008

Wal-Mart Employee Trampled to Death on Black Friday

Shoppers in New York trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death on Friday as the doors opened at 5 a.m. for the after-Thanksgiving day sales report the International Herald Tribune and the Pioneer Press.

A crowd of 2,000 shoppers waited outside a Wal-Mart in Valley Stream, New York (on Long Island), for the store to open at 5 a.m., but that wait was too long for the crowd. They beginning pushing and shoving at 4:55 a.m. and caused the doors to come off their hinges, allowing the shoppers in the store. The employee who died was standing inside the entryway of the store. As the doors broke open frenzied shoppers trampled the man said the International Herald Tribune. They also said the employee had not been identified. He was pronounced dead at 6:03 a.m. at a local hospital.

The Pioneer Press says that employee was 34-year-old Jdimytai Damour of Queens according to the police. The Press also says that the shoppers left a “section of the metal frame of the door crumpled up like an accordion.? Other employees tried to help the man, and also got trampled in doing. Damour was pronounced dead by doctors at about 6 a.m.

After the employee got trampled, customers were asked to leave due to his death. But the customers refused to abide because they said they had been in line since yesterday morning says the Pioneer Press.

Other people were taken to the hospital for injuries sustained at this Wal-Mart as a result of the “savage? shoppers, also. One of these people was a 28-year-old pregnant woman, though reports say she and baby are ok. (Pioneer Press).

The Herald reports that the line starting forming outside the store at 9 p.m. on Thursday.

“I've heard other people call this an accident, but it’s not,? Nassau County Det. Lieutenant Michael Fleming said. “This certainly was foreseeable.?

November 24, 2008

Chavez power begins to slip with the election

Polls have confirmed that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s opposition party has won some important elections according to the BBC and Reuters.

Although Chavez’s socialist party still won elections in 17 of 22 states, the states where it lost were pivotal areas according to the BBC (Reuters says 17 of 20 states). The elections choose over 300 governors and mayors in the country of Venezuela.

The opposition won in states of Miranda and Zulia, both are which are considered key states due to their high electorate says the BBC.

However, these two states also elected the opposition at the last election four years ago, so there was no gain in this election with these states.

But the opposition did gain ground in Caracas says Reuters. The important thing is that opposition now hold control in the areas with the highest concentration of population, which will be crucial in future elections says Reuters.

However, two races were still too close to call say both publications.

The results of these races could change the dynamic of the government further says Reuters. The opposition hopes to end Chavez run for reelection in 2012.

Voter turnout was at 64.5% say officials. (BBC)

The BCC says that both sides believed that the election was a success.

The president names Fidel Castro as a mentor. His country depends on oil for the majority of revenue, which has posed a problem for the country’s economy as the prices for a barrel of oil have continued to slip since July says Reuters.

Man with Swords Shot and Killed at Scientology Centre in LA

A security guard at the Scientology Celebrity Centre in Los Angles shot and killed a man who was using two samurai swords on the grounds on Sunday. The Los Angeles Times and Star Tribune both report this story.

The security guard says he fired the gun in an act of self defense and to protect two other security guards. The surveillance tapes confirmed this claim.

“The evidence itself, it’s very, very clear,’ Hara said. “The security officers were defending their safety.? (Star Tribune)

The tapes also showed that the man pulled up the church in a red convertible and then proceeded to advance on the guards with a sword in each hand say both publications.

The LA Times says that the man was shot at 1:30pm, but his name was not released. It was also said that used to be a member of the church.

“There was a previous relationship, but it is unclear to what degree,? Detective Wendi Berndt said.

A 17-year-old who saw the incident described the man with the swords as bald and having tattoos on his arms.

The Star Tribune says that calls to Centre were not immediately returned. But The LA Times says a woman answered the phone saying that she had no information on the matter.

The Centre used to be a hotel for movie stars says the Star Tribune. The LA Times says that the building is one of Hollywood’s most distinctive landmarks.

November 23, 2008

Misery at the Metrodome for Gophers Football

The final game played in the Metrodome for the Minnesota Golden Gophers football team turned out to be the worst Big Ten loss the team has ever suffered according to the Pioneer Press and Star Tribune.

“Words can’t express the disappointment I feel as a football coach, the disappointment I have for Minnesotans and our university, just disappointed in my ability tonight to put a team on the field that could compete,? Gophers coach Tim Brewster said. “We just didn't get that done.? (Star Tribune)

The Star Tribune said that the loss made the history books. It was the fifth worst loss in the history of the school, the second worst loss at home for the team and the worst Big Ten loss ever. In fact, it had been almost 20 years since the Gophers were last shutout at a home game, and that last shutout is considered the worst loss ever for the team. The Pioneer Press says the defeat happened in 1989, but the Star Tribune says it happened in 1983. Both report that Nebraska beat the Gophers 84-13.

This year’s loss of 55-0 happened in front of a soldout crowd of 64,071 fans at the Metrodome says the Pioneer Press. Already losing 27-0 at halftime, many fans started exiting the dome for the last time ever at a Gopher game.

Playing for the Floyd of Rosendale trophy, this loss signaled the loss of all three trophy games this season for the Gophers says the Star Tribune.

Though starting quarterback Adam Weber didn’t play well, the loss was attributed to more than just his bad play say both papers. Weber threw two interceptions, only 127 passing yards, and completed a dismal 14 of 28 passes says the Pioneer Press. He was taken out of the game early in the fourth quarter.

“It is the most embarrassing game I've ever been a part of, in any sport,? Weber said. (Pioneer Press).

Once destined for the Insight Bowl, that bowl appears to now be a long shot with this fourth consecutive loss. Now the Motor City Bowl, which is played in Detroit on Dec. 26, seems to be the more likely scenario says the Pioneer Press.

November 9, 2008

Death Toll of Collasped School in Haiti Rises to 92

The death toll keeps rising at a school that collapsed in Haiti. The latest number is 92 deaths according to The New York Times and China View.

The New York Times reports that after rescue workers found a room full of children in the collapsed school on Saturday the death toll rose above 90. As of noon that day, leader of the civil protection service, Alta Jean-Baptiste, verified 84 dead and 150 people injured. But the count rose to 92 after a different civil protection official said that he saw eight more dead bodies.

The school that taught 700 students was in session when it collapsed. Although exactly how many of the students were inside the building when it fell is unknown said The New York Times.

The Protestant minister who owned the school and church was arrested. This school lacked the proper amount of structural steel or cement blocks to hold together the concrete blocks said Haitian President Rene Preval (NY Times).

As of Saturday, China View also reported 92 dead and 150 injured. They also report that the number of survivors also grew as four children were rescued from beneath the rubble making for 35 survivors. They reported that more than 500 students were enrolled at the school. The owner of the school was arrested on Saturday, and the Haitian President blamed poor construction and lack of government funding for the collapse of the building. A number of people are helping in recue efforts including United Nations recue teams, French firefighters, and Dominican Republic helicopters, all of which were working on Saturday said China View.

China View and the NY Times both report that the school was located in the suburbs of Haiti’s capital, Port-of Prince.

Protests in California over Passing of Proposition 8

Protests erupted in California over the passing of Proposition 8 on Saturday reports The Associated Press and Los Angeles Times.

Proposition 8, which prohibits same-sex marriage, passed on Tuesday. This amendment is in opposition to the Supreme Count’s May ruling which allowed for same-sex marriage says The Associated Press. The passing of this Proposition “threw into question the legality of 18,000 marriages of gay and lesbian couples? (LA Times).

A couple protests ensured on Saturday including one in Los Angeles around the Silver Lake area. The LA Times says that police guided the group of 12,500 protesters though the streets for more than three hours Saturday evening while The Associated Press says that the police guided around 10,000 protesters for about four hours after the event started at 6pm. Both publications report that there were no arrests.

This protest started with passionate speeches from the bed of a truck says the LA Times. One of the protesters, Mario Mariscal talked of a lack of energy spent informing Latinos about the Proposition, who were crucial in the election. (LA Times)

Another large rally took place on Saturday in San Diego. The LA Times said there were up to 10,000 people at this protest. This noontime protest which lasted about 90 minutes was also non-hostile and without any arrests says The Associated Press.

Although these were not the first protests since Proposition 8 passed, these two were the biggest says The Associated Press.

A smaller group of about 1,000 people gathered Saturday for a candle vigil, instead of a protest, against the passing of Proposition 8 reports The Associated Press.

Both publications also mentioned protests being held (since the Proposition passes) all week in California. However, not all were as peaceful on the protests on Saturday. Police arrested three people from a crowd of about 2,000 during a Friday night protest in Long Beach says The Associated Press. The LA Times reports 15 arrests at this protest.

November 8, 2008

Coleman's Request to restrain from counting 32 ballots is denied

Chief Judge Kathleen Gearin of Ramsey Country denied Norm Coleman’s request to block the counting of some absentee ballots on Saturday according to the Pioneer Press and Star Tribune.

Coleman and Al Franken are in a tight race for the Senate seat, which has not yet been decided.

The Coleman camp asked for a temporary restraining order of counting 32 ballots that were on not opened on Election Day or kept in sealed ballot boxes says the Pioneer Press. The Star Tribune made mention that the 32 ballots all came from Hennepin County, which is a highly democratic area.

However, the Judge denied restraining the counting due to lack of jurisdiction say both publications.

Request came due to “increasing questions about unexplained and improbable shifts in vote counts? said Coleman’s campaign. (Pioneer Press)

The Pioneer Press says that latest numbers from the Minnesota Secretary of State have Coleman ahead by 221 votes.

Coleman learned of the 32 ballots on Friday said his campaign, when he received a call from Cynthia Reichert at 7:45 p.m. telling him that 32 ballots had been found and would be counted the next morning says the Pioneer Press.

Yet, Coleman, due to his current lead, said he would not contest the results of his request.

Franken’s spokesman called Coleman’s move a “Saturday sneak attack? and said that he was afraid because Franken is gaining ground as the votes continue to be recounted the Pioneer Press reported.

November 3, 2008

St. Olaf Professor Steals McCain Signs

A visiting professor at St. Olaf College confessed via a national blog to stealing McCain yard signs in Northfield, Minnesota reports The Star Tribune and Pioneer Press.

Phillip Busse, who stole the signs, committed the action “to point out the foolish things people do in a highly charged political season? the Star Tribune said.

He published an essay to the Huffington Post named “Confessions of a Lawn Sign Stealer? on Thursday the Pioneer Press reports. In the essay he mentioned that his actions were immature, but that it was one of the most exhilarating political experiences of his life. (Star Tribune)

He reiterated the immaturity of his actions in an email to the Northfield News the Pioneer Press said.

“Writing the essay was an opportunity to explore and talk about political speech and the desire that most of us have to express our politics—both in mature and immature ways, and sometimes a mix of the two,? Busse said (Pioneer Press).

He mentioned disappointment people focusing on his action rather than his thoughts in the essay. (Pioneer Press)

St. Olaf was not pleased with the attention his actions have brought the school. (Star Tribune)

“His actions ... are in direct conflict with the college's values and mission, and we do not in any way condone them,? said Steve Blodgett, director of marketing and communications at St. Olaf. (Star Tribune)

Busse is teaching a class in the theater department at St. Olaf the Pioneer Press says. The Star Tribune says he is teaching a media class.

Busse offered to return all the property. He should hear by next weeks if charges will be filed The Star Tribune said. According to the Pioneer Press the Northfield police said the action is considered a misdemeanor and victims rarely press charges.

November 2, 2008

North Korea Food Shortage

North Korea continues to face a food shortage according to Voice of America and The Los Angeles Times.

The LA Times says that source of the problem is inflation, strained relations with neighboring countries and flooding in previous years.

The LA Times said that though the food shortage in North Korea is a problem, it is not at the level of emergency that the country faced in 1990s. At that time the problem was called a famine. But today people in North Korea are simply showing listlessness.

“Workers are unable to put in full days and take longer to complete tasks -- which has implications for the success of the early and main harvests,? said a group of five U.S. humanitarian agencies in a summer assessment of the food situation. (LA Times)

However, there are also some signs that point to problems that were part of the famine in the 1990s such as many adults skipping lunch. More than 70 percent of households in a survey by the U.N. World Food Program of 375 households were found to be eating weeds and grasses as part of their diet said the LA Times.

Voices of America said that the picture of the food shortage is getting worse. Jean-Pierre de Margerie, World Food Program country director, said that rising world costs of grains and rice together with the flooding of the region had caused the problems of the country.

“And some areas - those most affected by the crisis - are sliding to level four, which is a level of humanitarian emergency,? Margerie said. (VOA)

Margerie’s organization, World Food Program, has received much more cooperative relations from North Korea this time, and that are having an easier time monitoring food distribution that previous years says the Voices of America.

Other factors that have affected the food shortage including the farmers using out-of-date farming requirement, not having enough fuel to run the equipment they do have, and lack of fertilizer says VOA.

North Korea currently is not on good terms with South Korea, and due to the strained relationship South Korea has not provided any food or fertilizer to their northern neighbor VOA said.

United States is helping, and any day now a US ship with 27,000 tons of corn and soy is due to arrive to North Korea.

12-year-old Shot Dead while Trick-or-Treating

A 12-year-old boy who was trick-or-treating was shot and killed on Friday in South Carolina reports The New York Times and The Press Association.

According to The Press Association, after the boy and his family attended a Halloween event the boy, TJ Darrisaw, and his father and three siblings knocked on a few doors to go trick-or-treating. They knocked on a door that had the porch light on. It was then that the family was shot at from inside the house. The convicted criminal, Quentin Patrick, who lived inside the house feared a robbery and fired almost 30 rounds from an assault rifle. Darrisaw, his father, and one sibling were all hit by bullets. The father and sibling were treated and released reports The Press Association.

Both publications report that Patrick has been charged with murder, assault, and battery with intent to kill.

The Times noted that the Halloween event the family attended was a city-sponsored event. The father and four children approached Patrick’s door at approximately 8:30pm, while the mother waited in the car, and upon coming to the door the children heard fireworks from inside the house. No mention of how many round were fired. The Coroner said that the boy died in the hospital.