December 7, 2008

CAR Analysis

I found an entry from's Extra! Extra about the illegal trade of tobacco.
The reporter used records about the billions of dollars that international tobacco companies have received in penalties.
He also consulted experts to see what percent of ciggarette sales were illegal, and used analysis of the cost to international governments.
I do not know for sure what types of CAR the reporter used but I would guess he used mapping software and spreadsheets.

3 Somali men missing, may be in Somalia

The Star Tribune reported Saturday that the families of three missing Somali men fear they may have returned to Somalia to fight in a war.
Two of the men, Abdisalam Ali, 19, and Mohamoud Hassan, 18, are students of the University of Minnesota, and the other, Burhan Hassan, 17, is a senior at Roosevelt High School.
They have been missing since Nov. 4.
The families urge other families with missing children to come forward and speak with authorities.
Rumors say that some Somali men, ages 17 to 20, that have gone missing have been recruited to fight in Somalia.
Some say that there is doubt to these rumors.
Police say that men from other U.S. cities have recently returned to Somalia as well.
Family members say that they have received calls from their missing loved ones saying that they are safe somewhere in Somalia.

Faribault prep school teacher kills himself on campus

The Star Tribune reported Sunday that a dorm director and teacher at Faribault prep school shot himself to death on campus on Friday night.
Len Jones, 34, was alone in his faculty apartment was he committed suicide, police said.
Several 7th through 9th grade boys heard the shot, and faculty rushed them away from the scene as they tried to help Jones.
Jones was described as well-liked by the students, and had come to Faribault from South Carolina six years ago.
He had recently become dorm director, and had expressed interest in taking on more administrative duties.
Spokesman for the school, Amy Wolf, said that no one had seen the suicide coming, but some knew he was having marital issues.
Jones described the event as the most tragic event that the school had ever seen.
A prayer service was scheduled for Sunday at 11:00 a.m.

Million-dollar-bill leads to man's arrest

The Star Tribune reported Saturday that police caught a man who robbed a restaurant because he stole a "million-dollar-bill."
The man , Henry Downs Jr., broke into the El Norteno restaurant on Thursday and demanded the money from the cash register.
The employee said the man only stole some change and a fake million-dollar-bill that had been left by a co-worker as a joke.
Police found the man a few blocks away from the restaurant after tracking his footprints in the snow.
He was standing at a bus stop wearing all black and had a razor blade and the fake million-dollar-bill in his pockets.
His bail is now set for 10,000 dollars.

Dogfights in Texas rising

The New York Times reported Saturday that the dogfighting subculture in Texas is rising.
Undercover agents trailed a car with dogfighters and a pitbull, who was going to fight another dog from Louisiana.
Another car followed them to protect the dog and a $40,000 bet placed on the fight.
The dog fighters from Louisiana decided to back out at the last second, but the crew from Texas threatened to kill them.
The pitbull's owner decided to let the crew from Louisiana live, but took the dog.
The agents found in their investigation that the dogfighting subculture in Texas is growing, and more young members are beginning to participate.
The investigation led to the indictment of 55 people, and almost 190 pitbulls were seized.
Officials described it as one of the largest dogfighting rings in the country.
The investigation found that these dogs were trained and kept in extremely cruel ways.
They were forced to fight against each other, and the loser was usually killed.
People from as far away as the Czech Republic came to watch some of the fights.
The dogs that were seized had to be euthanized because they were trained to attack other dogs.

Rioters protest police shooting

The New York Times reported Sunday that riots broke out in Athens, Greece over the police shooting of 15-year-old boy.
Two police officers have been arrested in connection with his death, one with manslaughter and the other with aiding him.
The boy was shot in a confrontation with police Saturday night.
After the shooting, hundreds of teenagers rioted in the streets, burning cars and businesses.
Six people were arrested for stealing from stores and boutiques.
Police countered the rioters with teargas, and the Athens police spokesperson said that dozens of officers had been injured in the riots.
Witness accounts differ about the shooting, but some say that about 30 teenagers mobbed a police car throwing stones, which caused the officers to fire shots.

November 24, 2008

Man kills wife at New Jersey church

The Los Angeles Times reported Sunday that a California man drove across the country and shot his estranged wife, killing her.
27-year-old Joseph M. Pallipurath confronted his wife, 24-year-old Reshma James at the St. Thomas Syrian Orthodox Knanaya Church in Clifton, New Jersey at the end of the service.
A witness said she saw the confrontation and went to get help when she heard gun shots.
Police said Pallipurath fatally shot his wife and also shot two others in the head.
The other two victims are reported to be in critical condition.
Police Detective Capt. Robert Rowan said James had come to New Jersey to escape her abusive marriage to Pallipurath, and had filed a restraining order against him.

Hopkins bank robber plea deal rescinded

The Star Tribune reported Thursday that a plea deal for a Hopkins bank robber was rescinded because a victim of the robbery objected to the terms.
A former Hopkins basketball player, Anthony DiLoreto, alledgedly drove his 16-year-old friend to a bank to rob it and waited in his car.
DiLoreto got scared and drove back to his Minetonka home, leaving his friend at the bank.
The 16-year-old told police that the gun he used to rob the bank belonged to DiLoretto.
The plea deal offerred to DiLoretto would have made him guilty of misdemeanor charges and serve local jail time, but would not have been felony charges.
The bank's manager protested the agreement because of the fact that he would face no felony charges.
DiLoretto is scheduled to appear in court in February.

November 23, 2008

Drunk driver drags trooper

The Star Tribune reported Thursday that a Robbinsdale driver is accused of driving a trooper 40 to 50 feet on Highway 169.
Derek Alan Thompson, 36, has been charged with drunk driving and fleeing police.
He has been convicted of drunk driving six times before and has been charged with numerous other crimes.
The trooper pulled over because Thompson had the hood up of his jeep and appeared to be having trouble.
When Thompson was able to fix it, the trooper noticed that he appeared to be drunk.
Thompson took a breath test which showed that he was over two times the legal limit.
Then he reportedly punched the trooper and took off in his jeep, dragging the trooper down the highway.
He led officers on a chase but was caught shortly after.
Jean Mulvey, executive director for Mothers Against Drunk Driving Minnesota, said that they are trying to impose stricter laws against drunk driving because people do not seem to take it seriously.

Domestic Violence ignored by army

The New York Times reported Saturday that the army has let a soldier escape without consequences for domestic violence.
On Christmas Day in 2007, Sgt. Carlos Renteria smothered his wife with a pillow and caused injuries to her.
Adriana Renteria, his wife, reported the abuse and was assured by the army that it would be taken care of, but it never was.
The couple's troubles began as newlyweds, and Adriana had reported other instances of abuse previously, but the case was never properly dealt with.
The Sgt. was ordered to take anger management classes, and only attended one.
Domestic violence is a growing problem with soldiers who are returning from Iraq.
After the Christmas Day incident was reported, Sgt. Renteria was again deployed to Iraq.
His wife, with whom he recently divorced in October, said he was suffering from nightmares and was drinking heavily.
Still the army has not prosecuted the case.
Adriana worries that the Sgt.'s behavior will worsen, and has gotten a restraining order.
Three murders have occurred on a military base in North Carolina in the past four months, and were all committed by soldiers against their wives of girlfriends.

Iran executes spy, and blogger arrested

The New York Times reported Saturday that Iran executed a man accused of spying for Israel.
Ali Ashtari was executed Monday by hanging, according to the article, and was said to have confessed to spying in his June trial after being arrested in 2006.
Newspapers reported that he was the manager of a company which sells communication and security equipment to Iran.
An Israeli official denied the country's knowledge of the spying.
The tension between the two countries stems from Iran's nuclear program, and Iran does not recognize Israel as a state.
Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has spoken out against Israel since his election in 2005.
A blogger, Hossein Derakhshan, was also arrested this month accused of spying.
An Israeli journalist, Abraham Rabinovich, defended Derakshan and said that he was just trying to give both countries a different perspective on each other.

November 17, 2008


The New York Times reported a story about a gay man from Senegal who was persecuted in his own country for being gay, and who faces discrimination now that he is in the U.S.
The report characterizes him as flamboyant, and openly gay, but it also described his lifestyle as being very unique and not stereotypical.
The article said that he fled his country to escape persecution, but now that he is here he faces the same type of discrimination from the Senegal community in New York.
The story did tell me something I did not know, which was that being gay was a crime in Senegal.
The story tells this through observation of Pape Mbaye's situation in Senegal.

Pirates hijack cargo ship off coast of Somalia

The New York Times reported Sunday that pirates seized a cargo ship with 23 crew members off the coast of Somalia.
This is only one of the 5 reported attacks that have occurred off that same coast within the past week.
These attackers are trained fighters and can be heavily armed.
The attack occurred Saturday night.
There is not yet any information about what kind of ransom they are demanding.
Officials are working to safely return the hostages.
Pirates released 18 hostages after being paid a ransom earlier this week.

St. Paul teen shot and killed

The Star Tribune reported that a 15-year-old boy was shot and killed at his home around 12:25 a.m. Sunday.
Paramedics tried to revive him but the victim, Jacob MacKenzie, died on the scene.
His mother, Michelle Olson, said that he waited up for her every weeknight to spend time with her.
19-year-old Alfredo Gutierrez-Gonzales has been identified by police as a suspect, but is not considered a threat to the public.
It is unclear what happened to cause the shooting, but police do not believe their was an argument prior to it.
McKenzie was the second Twin Cities teen to die from a gunshot this weekend.
Police reported that they found a gun believed to be connected to McKenzie's shooting near his home.
Olson's daughter said she rushed home after her mother told her the news, but McKenzie was gone before she got there.
Olson said her son was a quiet teen that liked to hang out with his family.
She described him as an "all around good kid."
"Everybody liked him," said his school's associate director, Jody Nelson.
She also described him as very hard working.

71-year-old man killed by runaway tractor

The Star Tribune reported Saturday that a runaway tractor rolled over a man and killed him in Denmark Township on Friday around 10 a.m.
Eugene J. Becker, of Hastings, was helping a friend remove a tree stump from the yard.
The tractor was running while it was chained to the tree stump when one man took an ax to the tree roots.
The tractor started to roll back and Becker went after it.
Erin Pace, the homeowner, said she looked out her window right as the tractor ran over him, and that he died shortly after she came outside.
The sheriff's office said that the death appeared to be an accident.