Soccer referee punched by teen dies

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The Utah soccer referee who a teenage goalie punched during a game has died, news sources reported.

Ricardo Portillo, 46, died Saturday after spending a week in a coma, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

Authorities arrested an unidentified 17-year-old on suspicion of aggravated assault, CBS News reported. Additional charges since Portillo's death have not been filed.

The incident occurred after Portillo issued a yellow card--a minor penalty--to the goalie for pushing a player on the opposing team, CBS reported. Portillo was taking down information about the infraction when the teen punched him in the head.

Portillo began to feel dizzy, the Salt Lake Tribune reported, so he sat down. Then he vomited blood.

When authorities arrived at, the teen was gone and Portillo was curled up in a fetal position, CBS reported. EMTs took Portillo to Intermountain Medical Center, where he slipped into a coma with swelling on his brain.

The teenager's father brought him to speak with police after the search for the goalie intensified, CBS reported. He is being held in a juvenile detention center.

Man hit by semi on West Bank

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A pedestrian was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center Friday after a semi hit him, news sources reported.

The unidentified male was crossing Riverside Avenue at 19th Avenue South on the West Bank when the semi struck him, the MN Daily reported.

An officer at the scene said the man was walking against the light, the MN Daily reported.

Paramedics took the man to HCMC, where he went through surgery and is listed as being in stable condition, WCCO reported.

I found a Center for Investigative Reporting story about drug smuggling from Mexico into the U.S.

The documents analyzed for the story consist of two government records, neither of which are identified, but chronicle smuggling busts from 2005 to 2011. The reporters found that when the nationality of the arrestee is know, 4 out of 5 times it is a U.S. citizen.

The analysis appears to have been done by filtering the data, perhaps from Excel files. In some cases--about half of the 81,261 seizures, the article says--drugs were found abandoned and no one was caught. Therefore, these results are not used. But in more than 40,000 cases, at least one U.S. citizen was arrested 80 percent of the time.

However, the article seems to inflate--or perhaps just confuse--the gravity of U.S. citizen-based smuggling; in one paragraph, the writers say would-be smugglers generally move less than a kilo of marijuana, less than what the Border Patrol considers drug trafficking. In a subsequent paragraph, however, says that when immigration status is noted in the arrest records for narcotics, it is a U.S. citizen 60 percent of the time; for marijuana the percentage is more than two-thirds.

This confusion, I think, can be attributed to the lack of identification given to the "two government records" the writers have analyzed. It appears as if the second set of arrest numbers comes from the Border Patrol, though even this is a bit confusing.

The writers go on to examine the narrative the Border Patrol makes through its press releases on drug busts. The numbers show that even though U.S. citizens are arrested with greater frequency for smuggling drugs, Mexican nationals are mentioned as culprits 38 percent of the time as compared to U.S. citizens being reported 30 percent of the time.

There are no infographics along with the piece.

A Minnesota state representative on Thursday withdrew a bill that would have expanded alcohol sales at the University of Minnesota's Mariucci and Williams arenas, the MN Daily reported.

Dan Schoen, DFL-St. Paul Park said he withdrew the bill because the University's wasn't ready to boost alcohol sales at the stadiums, the MN Daily reported.

"We'll bring it in again during the next session and make sure they're ready for it," Schoen told the MN Daily.

Federal prosecutors said ricin was found on items dumped by the man who allegedly sent letters containing the poison to the president, a senator and a judge, news sources reported.

Prosecutors charged James Everett Dutschke, a Tupelo, Miss. Man, with developing and possessing ricin, Reuters reported, as well as attempting to use the poison as a weapon.

According to the affidavit, investigators found a dust mask in a garbage can down the street from Dutschke's studio, the AP reported. The affidavit also said trace amounts of ricin were found in the studio, and Dutschke purchased castor beans--which are used to make ricin--on the Internet.

Dutschke came under scrutiny after police questioned another Mississippi man, Kevin Curtis, Reuters reported. Curtis' attorney suggested that Dutschke was framing Curtis.

If convicted, Dutschke faces a possible life sentence, Reuters reported.

Obama vows to close Guantánamo, again

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President Obama vowed Tuesday to make another attempt to close the Guantánamo Bay prison, news sources reported.

Amid a hunger strike that has grown to include about 100 of the prison's 166 inmates, Reuters reported, Obama said he would re-engage congress with his 2008 presidential campaign promise of shutting down the facility.

"Guantánamo is not necessary to keep America safe," Obama said, Reuters reported. "It is expensive. It is inefficient. It hurts us, in terms of international standing. It lessens cooperation with our allies on counter-terrorism efforts. It is a recruitment tool for extremists. It needs to be closed."

The hunger strike began on Feb. 6, the Guardian reported, and has since grown steadily. In the past few weeks the strike has escalated, with some inmates being isolated and force-fed.

"We will not allow a detainee to starve themselves to death," Lt. Col. Samuel House said, the New York Times reported, "and we will continue to treat each person humanely.

About half of the detainees at Guantánamo have been cleared for release, but are still being held, the New York Times reported.

Little Falls man indicted in Thanksgiving killings

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A Little Falls, Minn. man who is accused of killed two teens who allegedly broke into his home last Thanksgiving has been charged with first-degree murder charges, news sources reported Thursday.

A grand jury indicted Byron Smith Wednesday on two counts of first-degree murder with premeditation, the AP reported, in the shooting deaths of 17-year-old Nick Brady and 18-year-old Haile Kifer.

The 64-year-old Smith said he shot the teenagers after they broke into his home by smashing out a window with a metal pipe, MPR reported.

Smith first shot Brady as he came down the basement steps, and fired another shot into his face as he lay on the floor, the Brainerd Dispatch reported from the criminal complaint. Minutes later, the complaint continues, Smith shot Kifer as she descended the stairs.

In the complaint, Smith also said that fired "more shots than [he] needed to," MPR reported, and said he fired "a good clean finishing shot" into Kifer's head as she lay dying.

Smith's attorneys argue that he had every right to defend his home against intruders, MPR reported.

If convicted, Smith faces mandatory life in prison with no chance of parole, the AP reported.

Sunil Tripathi found, drowned

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A body found Tuesday in the Providence River has been identified as that of missing Brown University student Sunil Tripathi, news sources reported Thursday.

Tripathi had been missing since March 16, Reuters reported, when his cell phone and credit card were found in his apartment, but other personal effects were missing.

Over the last week, Reddit users misidentified Tripathi as a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing, the Independent reported. The allegations were later rescinded and apologized for by Reddit editors.

Brown University rowing team members--of which Tripathi was a member--found his body Tuesday in the water off of India Point Park, the AP reported.

Tripathi was suffering from depression, the Independent reported, and had taken a leave from Brown last year.

Police said the body had been in the water for a long time, Reuters reported.

Alleged child pornographer apprehended in Nicaragua

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Nicaraguan police arrested American fugitive Eric Justin Toth Saturday after a tourist recognized him, news sources reported.

Toth, a former third-grade teacher at Beauvoir, a private elementary school in the District of Columbia, had been on the run for nearly five years from charges of child pornography, Reuters reported.

In 2008, another employee at Beauvoir allegedly found a media card of Toth's that contained pornographic photographs and videos of his students, the Washington Post reported.

Toth disappeared after being fired from his job, and began evading authorities domestically, the AP reported. He had been living in Nicaragua since February according to authorities in the country.

Toth was added to the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list in April 2012, with a $100,000 reward for information leading to his arrest, US News reported. He was handed over to FBI agents and is being extradited back to the U.S. to face the charges against him.

If convicted, Toth faces up to 30 years for the production, and up to 20 years for the possession, of child pornography, Reuters reported.

Malian slavery

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I know pretty much nothing about Mali.

This story I found in the Guardian highlights Raichatou Walet Touka, a North Mali woman who escaped her slave masters after 20 years of servitude, and her anxiety and fear about what is happening to members of her family still experiencing slavery.

The ruling class of Malian Tuareg noble families has kept generations of slaves, in matrilineal progression.

In 2008, Touka escaped her captors to safety in Gao in Northern Mali, but fled in 2012 when the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad, a Tuareg rebel group, took over. She was afraid that her captors would reclaim her and force her back into servitude--a common occurrence.

"My instinct for liberty was telling me to grab every opportunity to be free," Touka said to the Guardian, "but my slave mentality was telling me the opposite."

What a statement.

We don't often think about slavery in the context of the present, and we certainly don't often think about the pathology a relationship like that could create.

The article goes on to write about the disappearance of anti-slavery programs in Mali, which have been losing funding since donors pulled out after the 2012 coup. Further, fundamentalists target agents in such organizations, resulting in abandoned microcredit projects and legal clinics designed to help escaped slaves.

The article doesn't just say, "This is bad;" it shows the difficulty of maintaining humanitarian efforts in regions with political instability and the perspective of people most affected by such scenarios.