« January 2007 | Main | March 2007 »

February 28, 2007

Largest squid discovered

The largest Colossal squid ever caught was landed off the coast of Antarctica by New Zealand fishermen Thursday, Feb. 22.
Scientifically known as Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni, the squid was captured by a fishing crew searching for Patagonian toothfish, also known as Chilean sea bass, reports the Olberlin Times.
The squid has eyes "the size of dinner plates" and "wheel-sized calamari rings" according to Gristmill. It is about 39 feet long and weighs about 992 pounds, reports DiscoveryReports.
"The new specimen is likely the first intact male ever recovered", New Zealand's Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton said, according to Progressive U.
The squid was frozen and transported to New Zealand's capital, Wellington, where it will be studied at Te Papa, the national museum, reports the Olberlin Times.

February 26, 2007

Martin Scorsese wins Best Director

Martin Scorsese won the best director Oscar for his film "The Departed" at the 79th annual Academy Awards Sunday.
"Could you double check the envelope?" the eight-time nominee said, according to ABC News.
Scorsese has been nominated for best director six times for his work on such classics as "Raging Bull" and "Taxi Driver," according to the Los Angeles Times. He has also been nominated for best screenplay twice.
The award was presented by Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola. Scorsese received a standing ovation for the long-overdue acknowledgement.
"So many people have been wishing this for me," Scorsese said, joking about all the encouragement he received prior to the award show.
Other nominees in the category were Clint Eastwood for "Letters from Iwo Jima," Stephen Frears for "The Queen," Paul Greengrass for "United 93" and Alejandro Gonzales Iñárritu for "Babel."
"The Departed," Scorsese's highest-grossing film to date, stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Wahlberg, Jack Nicholson and Matt Damon. The film also won best picture.

February 23, 2007

Britney Spears back in rehab

Britney Spears has checked into a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center, which may help her retain custody of her children, reports FOX News.
Spears checked into Promises Malibu drug and alcohol rehab center Thursday. This was her third one-day stint in rehab in the past week, according to FOX News.
"It actually may reflect well on her that she's now gone back, if she stays and sees herself through the program," said Jason Adess, a family law attorney in Chicago. "That way she can present to the court that she has an issue, she has acknowledged the issue, she has gotten help and now she is able to resume primary custody of the children," reports the Associated Press.
Currently, the 25-year-old entertainer and estranged husband Kevin Federline have joint custody of their two children, Jayden James, 5 months, and Sean Preston, 17 months, according to the AP.
Spears and Federline split in November, citing irreconcilable differences, reports the AP.

"Ingenious" Fla. teen escapes captor

A 13-year-old child was abducted early Friday near his school bus stop only to escape hours later, reports the Associated Press.
Clay Moore was abducted at gunpoint in front of about a dozen other children at around 9 a.m., according to the AP. The suspect drove a red or maroon pick-up truck.
Moore was then driven 20 to 30 miles away from where he was abducted, a town called Parrish about 30 miles southeast of St. Petersburg, Fla. He was bound and left in a "desolate" area, according to CNN.
The boy then freed himself and walked a "conserable distance" until he found a farm worker. Moore asked to use a cell phone, and called his mother around 1:30 p.m., reports CNN.
It is unclear what the kidnappers motives were, but Moore was found with nothing more than scratches and scrapes.

Derailed train kills one, traps over 100 and severely injures eight

Out of 180 passengers travelling from London to Glasgow, Scotland eight have been seriously injured and one killed when the train derailed Friday.
The cause of the crash is not entirely known, according to Reuters. The Associated Press reported that the nine-car Virgin train hit an obstruction at about 8:10 p.m.
"I can confirm one death," said a spokesman for the Royal Lancadter Infirmary, according to Reuters.
Hundreds of passengers were trapped when a part of the train slipped down an embankment.
"Rescue services were unable to reach them until the power lines had been switched off," reports Reuters.
"Rail safety has been a major problem in Britain in recent years," according to The Guardian.

Religious school's bomb scare

At about 2:50 a.m. Friday, a small bomb exploded in a parking lot at North Central University near downtown Minneapolis, reports the Star Tribune.
A fast food cup, explosive powder and a fuse were used to create two explosives. The second was intact when police and the bomb squad arrived. The explosive did not detonate, reports Kare 11 News.
There are no suspects or motives for the bombs. Police believe there was no intended harm of the bombs, reports Kare 11.
Nobody was hurt by the explosion.
Police plan to review the parking lot surveillance tapes and hand out flyers around campus in attempt to locate a suspect, according to the Star Tribune and Kare 11.

James Clack confirmed as Minneapolis Fire Chief

The Minneapolis City Council voted James Clack as the fire chief Friday in a unamimous decision.
Clack, 42, has been acting chief since last April when former chief Bonnie Bleskachek went on voluntary leave after a term wrought with scandal, reports the Star Tibune.
"Her tenure was marked by intimate relationships with other female firefighters, allegations of favoritism and retaliation, and a sex-tinged culture in city firehouses," according to the Associated Press.
Clack describes himself as "boring," but boring appears to be a welcome change in the department after Bleskachek's tenure, according to the Star Tribune.
Clack has been with the department for 21 years and is currently pursuing a master's degree from St. Mary's University, reports the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
His term is set to expire next January 2nd, reports the AP.

February 16, 2007

Nicole Richie Charged With December DUI

Celebrity Nicole Richie was charged Friday with a misdemeanor driving under the influece from a Dec. 11, reports the Associated Press.
If convicted, Richie could face one year in jail and an upwards of a $1,000 fine. Also, based on the judge's subjectivity, her license may be restricted and she may be given community service, reports E! News.
Her arraignment is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 21.
On Dec. 11, Richie was pulled over for allegedly driving the wrong way on a Los Angeles freeway. Though no drugs were found in her car, she failed a field sobriety test and allegedly admitted to smoking marijuana and taking perscription painkiller Vicodin before driving, reports E! News.
When police found the 25-year-old's black SUV, she was facing the correct direction, but was braking and talking on her cell phone, according to E! News.

J. Keith Moyer Retires: May Hit Close To Home For Certain Professors

J. Keith Moyer, publisher of the Star Tribune, announced his retirement Friday with plans to spend more time with his family, reports the Star Tribune.
Moyer had been publisher and president of the paper, the 12th largest in the nation, since 2001, according to WCCO.
This annoucement followed bombshell annoucement dropped December 26: the "$530 million sale of the newspaper to Avista Capital Partners, a New York-based private equity firm with no other newspaper holdings," reports the Star Tribune.
Moyer assured the press that he is not leaving because of the change in ownership.
"I have decided this is a perfect time in my life for me to take a late mid-career break -- to stop and smell those cliched roses, to devote more quality time to myself, my family, friends and many loved ones," Moyer said, accoriding to WCCO.
Moyer was reportedly popular in the newsroom, and will be missed. He will stay on as publisher until the sale is final in early March.
"He has a heart of gold," said Nancy Barnes, recently-named editor of the newspaper, according to the Star Tribune.

Development: Democratics Decisively Decide Against "Decider"

The Democratic-controlled House voted 246-182 (with aid from 17 Republicans) Friday to deny a Presidentially-backed plan to deploy more troops to Iraq.
The resolution came on the heels of a heated four-day debate with both Democrats and Republicans expressing opinions over presidential authority during war. About 400 of the 434 House representatives spoke. Democrats called President Bush's decision to send 20,000 more troops to Iraq part of a flawed plan that has only led to more violence, reports the New York Times.
The Republicans expressed concern that denying an increase in troops will lead to a decrease in military funding, reports Chicago's Daily Herald.
"Democratic leaders say they will not cut money for troops abroad but will try to attach conditions on war funding that would force Mr Bush to halt the buildup" reported Ausralia's Herald Sun.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for action against the President, stating that the war in Iraq is no longer a war on terrorism, but a distraction from it, according to the New York Times.
"If senators do vote to consider the resolution in their unusual Saturday session, Mr Bush faces the possibility that both chambers of Congress will repudiate his Iraq policy within two days," reports the BBC.
President Bush has not responded to the House's decision, with his advisors saying he was too busy to watch the preceedings on TV, reports Canada's CTV.

Farmington Man Shot Four Times

A 22-year-old Farmington man was shot four times, twice in the chest, twice in a leg, and survived Thursday, reports the Star Tribune.
The man, whose name has not yet been released, was shot and still managed to call police. The call was made at 12:02 a.m., according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
"He was hospitalized in critical but stable condition," reports the Star Tribune.
Police Chief Brian Lindquist is leading the investigation, and has reported that they are interviewing the roommates, who have not been ruled out as suspects, reports the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
It is uncertain whether the victim knew his shooter or not, said the Star Tribune.

Teens Dancing: A National Pandemic?

The Star Tribune reported Thursday of a trend that seems to be reflexive on a national level: high school students dancing sexually and the hazards that result from such actions.
High school officials and parents have apparently been taking offense to the "freak dancing" that goes on at the school dances. These dances include "grinding" and "twerking," both are reported as simulating sex, according to the Star Tribune.
The Sparta Independent said Thurday that current trends in dancing are far cries from the old, more refined, dances involving girls and boys on opposite ends of the dance floor timidly awaiting a request.
Students seem to feel that they should be allowed to wear and dance the way they want.
"We're not hurting anyone," said Sophomore Ryan Grant in the Star Tribune article.
Included with these dances nowadays is the ever-present police authority. Students are required to take a breathalyzer test at Fridley High School and police patrol the hallways and the dance floor, reports the Star Tribune.
The rise in regulation has led to a decline in dance attendance. Many students opt not to go to dances anymore because edited songs, strict dress codes and signed consent forms (if a student wishes to attend a dance at a different high school).
This drop in interest has caused turmoil for numerous DJ companies who rely on high school dances as main sources of work. The percentage of high school dances as a DJ gig has gone from 80 to 50, according to the Star Tribune.

February 9, 2007

Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film For Theatres

In promotion for the upcoming film Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film For Theatres, Lite-Brite toys were used in a guerilla advertising campaign which caused a bomb scare, the resignation of Cartoon Network's chief and cost Turner Broadcasting $2 million.
On Jan. 31, small light-up signs depicting characters of the Cartoon Network show Aqua Teen Hunger Force were mistaken as bombs and reported to police in Boston. A small panic ensued, causing bridges and roads to be closed and bomb squads to be called, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Upon hearing about the scare, Turner Broadcasting and Cartoon Network called for the signs to be taken down, and claimed full responsibilty for the chaos they caused, acknowledging that it was a marketing move.
At a press conference the following day, Aqua Teen advertisers Peter Berdovsky and Sean Stevens used the forum to discuss haircuts of the seventies. Their attorney had advised them not to discuss the bomb threat issue.
"On Monday, Turner Broadcasting and an advertising agency involved agreed to pay $2 million in compensation for the emergency response the devices had spurred in Boston," reported the Detroit Free Press. Also, Jim Samples, chief of Cartoon Network, resigned with the hopes of putting the entire situation behind him and the company.

Astronaut kidnapping scandal

An astronaut love triangle ended in the arrest of Navy Capt. Lisa Nowak on charges of attempted kidnapping, battery and other crimes, reports the BBC.
Nowak allegedly drove from Houston to Orlando International Airport with the intention of kidnapping and murdering Colleen Shipman, a woman she believed to be a rival for the love of Navy Cmdr. William Oefelein, reports the Associated Press.
Nowak supposedly wore a wig to conceal her identity and a diaper to eliminate restroom breaks on her 1,000-mile-drive. Also in her possession was a BB gun, rubber tubing, a mallet and garbage bags, reports The Jamaica Star.
"Attempted kidnapping carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment," according to the BBC.
The Nowak case has led NASA to reevaluate its psychological evaluation process.

Anna Nicole Smith dies at 39

Celebrity Anna Nicole Smith's early autopsy has not revealed any clear cause of death, reports CNN.
The former Guess Jeans spokeswoman died Thursday after a private nurse found her body in her Hollywood, Florida hotel room.
She was autopsied Friday, but no clear cause of death has been determined. Some of the findings of the investigation thus far have been: blood was found in her stomach, there were no illegal drugs in her room, only prescription drugs were found, she collapsed and hurt her back earlier in the week, and there were no signs of blunt force trauma, gun shot wounds, asphyxiation or other physical trauma, reports CNN.
The former Playboy model was 39, recently married to attorney Howard K. Stern and had a three-month-old daughter Dannielynn Hope.
Her death is shrouded in mystery, and that mystery is intensified by the fact that her son, Daniel, died in the Bahamas September. His death is also unsolved. The death of Anna Nicole Smith has resurfaced the investigation of her son's death, according to the Associated Press.

Twins consider stadium move

The Twins are now considering moving the site of their new $522 million stadium after negotiations are beginning to become uncompromising, reports the Star Tribune and the Associated Press.
Hennepin County negotiators are starting to realize the overly-ambitious nature of their original plans to build a new ballpark near the Target Center in downtown Minneapolis. The tract of land is desired by the county, but negotiations have reached a stalemate over land costs. The county and the land owners are still millions apart on a sale price, reports the AP.
Another major problem facing the county is the fact they do not, as of yet, own the land on which they planned to build the stadium.
If negotiations fail, the county will need to find a new site for the stadium. Other locations being considered are in downtown and suburban areas, according to the AP.
Some critics have judged the threat of a stadium move as simply a negotiating tactic with the intention of getting the desired land at a cheaper price, reports the Star Tribune.
These building complications are expected to postpone the projected start of construction in March. The conflict may also end up pushing the 2010 opening back, reports the AP.

Child Influenza Deaths Prompt Shot Requests

Two more child deaths have prompted Minnesotans to frantically locate influenza vaccinations, reports the Star Tribune.
The announcement came Thursday indicating that two children, one 17-months-old and the other 8-years-old, have died as a result of influenza.
These deaths have caused a major uprise in the amount of concerned parents calling Children's Hospitals and Clinics looking for sites to vaccinate their children. Estimates from the Star Tribune indicate that 250 calls came in within the first half-hour of operations Friday. In total, over 1,000 people had been signed up for vaccinations by noon.
"Vaccines remain plentiful," reports the St. Paul Pioneer Press. The issue that medical centers providing vaccinations are having is a lack of staff.
The most recent two deaths, coupled with the death of 8-year-old Lucio Satar of St. Paul has prompted the recent surge in demand for vaccines. Health officials have advised parentes not to overreact, reports the Pioneer Press.
For more information on influenza, the Star Tribune urges readers to visit www.mdhflu.com.

February 2, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Infinitely popular author of the Harry Potter series JK Rowling has completed the final installment, titled Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which is set to be released July 21.
The title has been announced since the beginning of January, but the completion of the book had not been reported by the author. BBC has announced that Rowling wrote a message on the wall of her five-star Balmoral Hotel room in Edinburgh that read, ""JK Rowling finished writing Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows in this room on 11 Jan 2007."
Fans across the world have eagerly anticipated the seventh and final installment, and have shown their interest by setting amazon.com records for most first-day pre-orders, according to Reuters. The report claims that first-day sales surpassed the sixth book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince's first-day pre-orders by 547 percent.
So far the series has sold over 325 million copies in over 64 languages, reports the Associated Press.
An additional bi-product of the Harry Potter Dynasty has been the immensely successful series of films based on the books. The next film, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is set to be released later this year, while the movie version of "The Deathly Hallows" is not slated to be released until 2010, according the Internet Movie Database.

U.S. helicopter shot down north of Baghdad kills 2

A U.S. AH-64 Apache helicopter was reportedly shot down north of Baghdad claiming the life of two soldiers Friday, report the BBC and Los Angeles Times.
Witnesses to the shoot-down include Iraqi police and civilians, all of whom have confirmed that the helicopter was shot down over farmland 10 miles north of Baghdad in Taji.
There are no clear suspects to the shooting, but a militant Web site regularly used by Al Qaeda has claimed responsibility for the attack, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The U.S. helicopter, the fourth shot down in 2 weeks, was said to be accompanying a convoy of military vehicles. "The U.S. military relies heavily on helicopters to ferry personnel and equipment across Iraq because of the risk of roadside bombs," said the Los Angeles Times.
According to the BBC, more than 50 U.S. military helicopters have been lost in Iraq since May 2003.

Florida storms kill 19

Strong storms accompanied by at least one tornado rocked Central Florida Friday, killing 19 and damaging property.
The intense thunderstorms began at 3 a.m. and ended by 6 a.m. according to the Los Angeles Times. The main section of the storm hit around 4 a.m.
In the three main hours of the storm trucks were thrown and houses and mobile homes destroyed. Power was also lost within the counties. Cost etimates of the damages have yet to be released.
The most significant damage, however, was the loss of human life. Initial reports estimated the death toll at 14, but was then raised to 19 after five more bodies were found, reports the Orlando Sentinel. One of the victims was a 15-year-old boy named David Downing; his two twin sisters survived the weather.
Officials have noted that the number one priority at this point is finding the injured.
"The storms were expected to move east and south [sic], and the National Weather Service issued tornado warnings for Orange and Seminole Counties," reports the New York Times.

Car chase claims the life of local man

A high-speed car chase that began in Eagan ended fatally for a passenger Friday, reports the Star Tribune.
The chase is said to have begun as a routine traffic stop, but quickly escalated when the suspect sped away from police after falsifying information about his identity.
The driver has been identified as Harvey Henry, a 42-year-old St. Paul man with an active felony warrant, according to www.mnsun.com. The other passengers included Stacy Buckanaga, a 39-year-old Champlin woman and James Blakkestad, a 55-year-old Richfield man.
The chase reached speeds of 85 miles per hour and passed through Eagan and Inver Grove Heights. After driving in the wrong direction on Hwy. 55, Henry lost control of the vehicle and crashed. Blakkestad was thrown from the vehicle and died at the scene. Henry and Buckanaga were both treated at Regions Hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.
Henry was released from the hospital and arrested on possible charges of "fleeing an officer in a motor vehicle and criminal vehicular homicide," according to www.mnsun.com.