March 2012 Archives

Lincoln Hall, the Australian mountaineer who was left for dead near the summit of Mount Everest, died of cancer Tuesday at the age of 56, reports the Los Angeles Times.

In 2006, Hall made the Everest expedition, but fell ill from altitude sickness that caused hallucinations and made him collapse. After struggling to transfer Hall down the mountain, the guides didn't think he'd make it much longer and took most of his supplies.

After a night alone, another mountaineering party discovered Hall and saved his life. Hall's family had already been informed he'd died.

After the night alone without vital supplies, Hall lost a toe and the tips of his fingers to frostbite.

Hall later went on to write a book and articles on the ordeal, according to the Washington Post.

He is survived by a wife and two sons.

Renowned Minneapolis Publisher and Advocate Dies

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John Cowles Jr., the former publisher of the Star Tribune and advocate, died March 18 at the age of 82, the Star Tribune reports.

After graduating from Harvard and time in the Army, Cowles joined the Star Tribune as a police reporter in 1953. He was married for more than 60 years to his wife Sage.

Cowles' family had a history in newspaper companies, and in 1961 he acquired the Star Tribune from his father, becoming president and editorial chairman a year later, until his ousting in 1983.

Besides being part of the history of the Star Tribune, he was also a key player in bringing the Guthrie and Metrodome to Minneapolis.

King Tupou of Tonga dies

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King George Tupou V, who gave up the majority of his power in order for his nation of Tonga to become a more democratic state, died in Hong Kong on Sunday. He was 63, according to the New York Times.

Tupou was the leader of the Pacific island nation since 2006, when his father King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV died.

He studied at the King's College in Auckland, New Zealand and in Britain.

In 2008 Tupou put together political reforms after mass demonstrations and riots occurred over the continued monarchy that his father had in place for the past forty years.

Tupou's casket will lie in the state at the palace until Tuesday, when it will be transferred to the royal tombs, reports Radio New Zealand.

Former MLB Pitcher dies

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Dennis Bennett, the former Major League Baseball pitcher died early Saturday at his home in Klamath Falls, Ore. He was 72, according to the Philadelphia Daily News.

Bennett pitched for the New York Mets, Boston, Philadelphia and Los Angeles Angeles. He pitched and batted left-handed.

During the 1964 season in Philadelphia, he and his brother Dave pitched during the same game once, according to the Herald and Times.

Bennett had been in poor health and was hospitalized in Portland for the last two months before returning home on Thursday.

Former Bierman Gopher Football Player Dies

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John Billman, a football player for the Golden Gophers under coach Bernie Bierman, died March 16 at the age of 92, according to the Star Tribune.

Billman was born in Northeast Minneapolis, where he grew up and attended Edison High School. Throughout high school, Billman perfected his football skills and enrolled at the University of Minnesota, where he played for Bierman from 1939-1942.

After graduating with a degree in mortuary service, Billman joined the U.S. Navy and eventually became a PT boat captain in the South Pacific.

When Billman was discharged from the Navy, he played football in the American Football League for the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Chicago Rockets for a short time.

He was married to his wife of 60 years Katharine "Kit" Daniels and the couple raised their three children in St. Louis Park. His business included three funeral chapels, until he retired in 1983.

Survivors include his daughters Jennifer Redmond and Katharine Fiorentino, son James Billman and five grandchildren.

Suu Kyi gives campaign speech in Burma

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Aung San Suu Kyi, a Burmese democracy advocate and member of the National League for Democracy party, made a landmark speech using state-controlled media Wednesday, according to the BBC.

This is the first time Suu Kyi was able to promote her political message. A new law in Burma allows parties participating in the April 1 elections to air 15-minute spots on radio and television stations.

In the address, Suu Kyi said, "all repressive laws must be revoked and laws introduced to protect the rights of the people."

In the script of her speech, which was leaked Tuesday, Suu Kyi mentioned the old military. However, that part of the speech was censored by the government, according to the BBC.

Suu Kyi said the new government must expand the freedoms of the people.

"Full media freedom must be given," Suu Kyi said. "Expand social networks that will provide legal assistance to the people."

Suu Kyi has fought to bring democracy to Burma and in result has spent much of the last two decades under detention or house arrest for her actions. She received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar visited the St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam Monday to promote legislation by state Rep. Erik Paulsen that would make it harder for invasive carp to travel up river, according to KARE 11.

Paulsen's legislation would make it easier to close lock and dams, which would make it more difficult for invasive carp species in Minnesota to disperse. The legislation still has to make it through the legislative process.

Klobuchar said in a video on the Star Tribune the state has better things to be proud of than carp.

"We always love, in Minnesota, to be known as the state of 10,000 lakes," Klobuchar said. "We don't want to be known as the state of 50,000 carp."

Many of these species of carp have already been caught in other areas of Minnesota. One species in particular is the Asian carp, which are known to jump out of the water when loud noises, such as boat motors occur.

Klobuchar said the legislation is important in preventing the invasive species from spreading.

"This is about our way of life in Minnesota, but its also about our economy, tourism and I'm very glad to have worked with such a broad group of partners to get this legislation introduced and we will go from there to get this done," Klobuchar said.


As the Vikings stadium bill stalled in committee Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Mark Dayton expressed concern about the lack of progress being made in the legislature.

In a press conference video on the Star Tribune, Dayton said the stadium will not be successful without the support from both parties and that they must "work cooperatively together to make things happen."

Dayton had previously sent a letter to legislative members expressing his support when speculation arose that the bill may not have enough votes in the Local Elections and Government Committee, that decided against a vote on the bill on Wednesday.

Dayton said the timeline for the bill is Friday, but it may need to be adjusted.

Legislative leadership and involvement is important, Dayton said, but he also said the Minneapolis City Council needs a definite position on the stadium. He said seven council members need to sign a letter to the Legislature to show support of the project.

Dayton said he'd invite and discuss the project with House and Senate leaders "as soon as possible," to get their opinions.

Energy Secretary changes stance on gas prices

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As gas prices climb to $4 a gallon around the country, Energy Secretary Steven Chu changed his opinion on gas prices at a Senate hearing speech Tuesday, according to Bloomberg.

In a 2008 Wall Street Journal article, Chu said the price of gasoline should be increased to lessen the country's dependence on foreign oil.

"Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe," Chu said in the article.

When asked about his previous comments during the hearing, by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, Chu said "I no longer share that view," according to Bloomberg.

Chu said he doesn't want to see gas prices increase, but rather decrease.

This comes after the Senate rejected a proposal to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and approve construction of the Keystone pipeline on Tuesday.

Obama and Cameron discuss international policies

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President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron said they are both committed to their military plans in Afghanistan, in a speech Wednesday in the Rose Garden at the White House, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Both leaders said they were standing firm against recent calls for withdrawal from both countries. Support for the war has been waning in both countries in recent months.

In the joint speech, Cameron said, "We will not give up on this mission," while Obama said the United States' commitment in Afghanistan is a, "steady, responsible transition process."

Later on in the speech, both leaders addressed the topic of Iran and its cooperation with the international community. Cameron has recently joined Obama in discouraging Israel from attacking Iran with a military strike, as reported by the New York Times.

Along with discussions involving international and military talk, both men also talked about the economic crisis that is effecting both countries. Obama said they have different ideas for the solution to the crisis, they both have the same intent on improving the economies of their countries.

Obama will host Cameron in a state dinner Wednesday night at the White House.

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