November 2011 Archives

Rio de Janeiro slums face challenges

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Special forces in Rio de Janeiro moved quickly as they looked in windows and knocked on doors in Rocinha, the city's biggest shantytown, on Monday.

On Sunday, 3,000 troops seized control of the hilltop favela without firing a single shot. The special forces operation was part of the effort to eliminate drug gangs and secure Rio de Janeiro before the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games, reports CNN.

Meanwhile, it was business as usual for many of Rocinha's 100,000 residents. Motorcycle taxis zipped up and down the winding roads, while food stalls displayed strings of onions and garlic.

Although Rocinha's top drug trafficker, Antonio Francisco Bomfim, was captured by police last week, the hard work still lies ahead. Tangled masses of electrical wires dangle over houses and mountains of trash line the streets, according to CNN.

"Before this was called a favela because it was full of criminals," said Juliete, 18. "Now things have to be done to call it a neighborhood. We need running water, proper sewage and things for young people to do."

Turkey to Go opens storefronts

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The Turkey to Go sandwich, a popular item at the Minnesota State Fair for 52 years, is now opening storefronts in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Owners Drew Levin and Dan Perkins opened the Skyway food court in the Alliance Bank Center in St. Paul on Tuesday. A second storefront in Minneapolis will open in early January, reports the Star Tribune.

On Tuesday, about 60 people came to the counter in St. Paul for turkey salads, sandwiches, and pita bread pockets filled with turkey, salami, jalapenos, olives, pepper and mozzarella. Despite a problem with the credit card machine that kept several customers waiting, Turkey to Go drew a consistent stream of people on Wednesday, according to the Star Tribune.

Many customers recognized the State Fair brand and welcomed it to their lunchtime food court in the Alliance Building. Some other customers complained about the absence of the Turkey to Go drumstick that is sold at the State Fair. The drumstick is not a part of the restaurant menu, but it can be purchased at the food truck, according to Levin.

We're ironing out all the kinks so when we open in Minneapolis, we are just ready to go," Levin said.

Presidential turkey bolts from cage at State Capitol

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Turkey Ted tried to make an escape Friday while in the governor's reception room at the State Capitol.

The turkey visited the State Capitol before a possible trip to the White House, along with a flock of 30 other presidential birds, reports the Star Tribune.

According to the Star Tribune, the turkey bolted from his cage during Minnesota's annual turkey ceremony. Gov. Mark Dayton and U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar watched while Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson repenned the bird and calmed it down.

Then the turkey was placed on a table while Dayton, Klobuchar and others then petted the bird and press cameras snapped pictures.

Student from Willmar exposed Ted and the rest of his flock to light, sound and music, to help train the birds for their potential trip to the White House.

The two best behaved birds will be driven to the White House next week. The selected turkey will live out the rest of his days at Mount Vernon once pardoned by President Barack Obama.

Beijing's air pollution

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Dust hanging over the sky and a heavy blanket of smog are a depressing sight for one reporter who looks out his window to downtown Bejing everyday.

Buildings are barely visible and the air is barely breathable, reported Jaime A. Florcruz in an article for CNN.

Florcruz has lived in Beijing for nearly 40 years and said he has seen the air's quality go from bad to worse in the city. He said he never imagined it to be as bad as it is now.

He reported that experts blame the air pollution on rapid urbanization and industrialization. Pollution is more acute because of Beijing's 17 million people population and the rapid speed of its economic growth, according to experts.

"I have an 11-year-old child," said Wu Changhua, China director of The Climate Group, a London-based international organization. "I really wish for better air quality, for the nation's authorities to do something not just for us but for future generations. That remains a concern for parents like me and many others."

Regis Philibin's Final Show

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Regis Philbin stayed in character and looked for laughs during his final appearance on "Live with Regis and Kelly" Friday morning.

Tears flowed from his co-host, Kelly Ripa, but Philbin stayed dried eyed, according to the New York Times. Philbin's friends and family were invited to be in the audience for the final show. Guests included Katie Couric, Diane Sawyer, and actor Tony Danza.

Philbin cited someone in the audience every commercial break, reports the New York Times.

"I'm doing everything I can for you! After this you're on your own!" Philibin told Robert A. Iger, the chief executive of the Walt Disney Company, during one of the commercial breaks.

Iger announced that ABC is installing a plaque in Philbin's honor on the facade of the studio building. "I got a plaque," Philbin said with mock complaint, according to the New York Times. "How about a star in front of the place too?"

Philbin also gestured to Michael Gelman, his producer, off-camera when he thought a musical number went on too long. Philbin motioned by drawing his hand across his throat.

"I forgot something I wanted to say," Philbin told the audience after he wrapped up his goodbye to the television audience. "I want to stay!"

Minnesota beats Bucknell 70-58

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The Gophers salvaged their season opener to beat the Bison 70-58 Friday night at Williams Arena.

The Gophers scored 25 points in the last five minutes of play and looked like a team capable of holding its own in the Big Ten, according to the Star Tribune.

Minnesota missed 12 free throws and went 7 for 25 from the field in the second half, but scrappy play allowed them to remain in the game, reports the Associated Press.

"I think the main thing was keeping confidence up," Austin Hollins said in the Star Tribune account. "In the locker room, we just stressed, 'Just keep shooting the ball, it will come. In the second half, it will come.' "

Trevor Mbakwe had 10 rebounds and went 9 for 13 from the free-throw line. Hollins scored 13 points, Julian Welch had seven points, two assists and two steals, and Ralph Sampson added eight points, nine rebounds, six assists and two blocks before he fouled out, reports the Associated Press.

This is the first time in 23 years that the Gophers have avoided defeat at home to start a season, according to the Associated Press.

Increase in price of Thanksgiving dinner

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A Thanksgiving dinner with a turkey and traditional trimmings will cost about 13 percent more this year, according to the American Farm Bureau Association.

The cost of a meal for 10 people will rise to $49.20 from $43.47 last year, the biggest increase since 1990. Turkey was the most expensive increase, with a 16-pound bird up 22 percent at $21.57, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

"Although we'll pay a bit more this year, on a per-person basis, our traditional Thanksgiving feast remains a better value than most fast-food value meals," John Anderson, senior economist with the bureau, told the Los Angeles Times. "Plus it's a wholesome, home-cooked meal."

The report is the Farm Bureau Association's 26th since 1986, when a Thanksgiving meal cost $28.74. The report takes into consider prices across the nation, says the Los Angeles Times.

A total of 141 volunteer shoppers from 35 states participated in this year's report. The menu for the Thanksgiving dinner has remained unchanged since 1986 to allow for consistent price comparisons, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

"A dinner for 10 at under $5 a head is still a bargain," Anderson said. "The average American household still spends less on food than any other nation in the world."

GM reports third-quarter profit down

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General Motors reported its quarterly profit Wednseday, stressing the need for more cost cutting as profit margins declined.

GM's third-quarter profit fell 12 percent, largely due to higher marketing and engineering costs, reports the New York Times. However, USA Today reports third-quarter earnings for GM are down 15 percent.

Third-quarter profit came to $1.73 billion, or $1.03 a share, this year. The results compare to last year's third-quarter profit of $1.96 billion, or $1.20 a share, according to the New York Times.

The net profit for GM was down, even though total revenue in the quarter was up 7.6 percent to $36.7 billion, reports USA Today.

"Clearly, customers are seeing value in the vehicles we're putting into the marketplace," said Daniel Ammann, GM's chief financial advisor, in a conference call. "Our margins aren't where we want them to be, but we have a pretty clear road map, and we understand where the gaps are."

Globally, GM said fourth-quarter profits will be roughly the same as a year ago, according to the New York Times.

Stocks hammered by fears of broader crisis in Italy

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Investors dumped their holdings of Italian government bonds, leads to a global stock market sell-off, after fears that Italy was headed into deeper crisis.

The cost of borrowing for Italy drove up 7 percent, a level that many economists see as unsustainable and a number that accelerated bailouts for Greece, Ireland, and Portugal, according to the New York Times.

"Wednesday's surge in Italian government bond yields has catapulted the euro zone crisis into a dangerous new phase," said John Higgens, a senior markets economist with Capital Economics, in a research note, reports the New York Times.

The Dow Jones industrial average tumbled 389 points Wednesday, but the fear factor was not only contained to the U.S. stock market. The euro slumped more than 2 percent after European markets also sold off, reports CNN.

Italy's bond rates are triggering intense market anxiety, which investors say is a result of lack of investor confidence.

"This is a crisis of confidence, not of fundamentals," said Mark McCormick, currency strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman, to CNN. "Italy's debt level is sustainable, but it needs to implement policies that will support economic growth."

Minnesota poll: Gambling top choice for Vikings stadium

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Minnesotans prefer using forms of gambling revenue instead of raising taxes if a new stadium for the Vikings is built, according to a Star Tribune Minnesota poll published Sunday.

The results of the poll show widespread support for a Minnesota Lottery Vikings scratch-off game, slots at horseracing tracks, and electronic pull tabs in bars and restaurants, reports the Saint Cloud Times.

About two-thirds of Minnesotans said keeping the Vikings in Minnesota is important, although 56 percent of those polled opposed using public money for a new stadium. Meanwhile, 37 percent favored using public money and 7 percent didn't know or refused to answer, according to the poll.

Support for using public money for a new Viking stadium has increased even in the last six months. Currently, 37 percent of those polled said they would favor using public money for a new Viking stadium while in May, 22 percent favored using public money.

The most recent poll surveyed 807 adults statewide between Nov. 2-3 and has a major of error plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

British singer, Bertyl Davis, dies at 87

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Bertyl Davis, a British singer famous for carrying on her cabaret performances during the bombing of London during World War II and performances with American bands, died in her Los Angeles home Friday at the age of 87.

The reason for death was complications from Alzheimer's disease, a family spokesman told the New York Times.

Davis began her career early as the daughter of the British bandleader Henry Davis. She performed with her father's band at the age of 8 and was already a national star by the time some of the American big bands passed through London on tours, according to the New York Times.

Davis made her first American appearance on Bob Hope's radio show in1947 and she later performed with Frank Sinatra and Benny Goodman. Davis was a regular performer on the cruise ship circuit starting in the 1970s, reports the Washington Post.

Davis is survived by three children and two grandchildren.

David Olson, a longtime anchor and news director at the University of Minnesota-owned and operated- radio station died Oct. 17. The Mendota Heights man died from a heart attack and was 92-years-old, according to the Star Tribune.

Olson had a long career in broadcast journalism. In the radio station's heyday, Olson produced and anchored the program "Scope," a one-hour weekly newscast. The station is now known as "Radio K," reports the Star Tribune.

"He could interview anyone about anything," Stuart Sanders, a longtime friend and development director at KUOM, told the Star Tribune.

Olson was also television host of Minnesota Senate Media Services "Capitol Report," reports Morrison Nilsen Funeral Chapel. He was a Scoutmaster, photographer, and aviation enthusiastic, Olson's wife told the Star Tribune.

Olson is survived by his wife, one son, and a sister.

60 Minutes' Andy Rooney dies

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Andy Rooney, the closing essayist of CBS's newsmagazine 60 Minutes, died Friday night at the age of 92.

Rooney died of complications after minor surgery in a New York City hospital, according to a statement from CBS, reports USA Today.

Rooney thought of himself as a writer who appeared on television, rather than a TV personality. After 33 years, Rooney made his last regular-appearance from 60 Minutes on Oct. 2. He completed a total of 1,037 episodes during his career, reports the Los Angeles Times.

"There's an awful lot of nonsense in this world. I'm not shy about expressing a dislike when I feel it," Rooney once said, according to USA Today.

In 2003, Rooney received an Emmy for lifetime achievement.

Rooney's wife of 62 years, Marguerite, died in 2004. Rooney is survived by one son and three daughters, reports USA Today.

Hilary Clinton's mother dies

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Dorothy Rodham, the woman who profoundly influenced her daughter Hillary with her compassion, toughness, and humor, has died. She was 92, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Rodham died in Washington, D.C., early Tuesday morning, according to a statement from the William J. Clinton Foundation. Rodham was born on June 4,1919 in Chicago.

Rodham was abandoned at the age of 8 by dysfunctional, divorced parents. Her parents sent her with a younger sister to unwelcoming grandparents in California, reported the Washington Post.

Rodham never worked outside the home and raised her three children in Illinois under the watchful eye of a conservative-minded husband. Rodham funneled her passion for learning to her daughter, reports the Washington Post.

Rodham is survived by Hillary and two sons, Hugh and Tony; and four grandchildren.

Obituary: Renowned Mayo Clinic urologist Dr. David Utz

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Dr. David C. Utz, 87, a renowned urologist, died in his home Sunday, reported the Star Tribune.

Utz was born in 1923. During his career, Utz treated heads of state, celebrities, Supreme Court justices, and more.

"He treated every patient the same," his son, William Utz, told the Star Tribune. "He had a great heart and that was manifested by his kindness."

Dr. Utz spent 31 years at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. The Mayo Clinic praised him as a pioneer because of his performance of a type of prostate surgery that formed the basis of the world's largest surgical prostate surgery database, according to the Star Tribune.

The physician was the author of 143 publications and 28 abstracts and editorials. After his retirement in 1988, Dr. and Mrs. Utz settled in Scottsdale, Ariz., reported the Post Bulletin.

Dr. Utz will be remembered as loving, of strong faith, and committed to his family. Dr. Utz will also be remembered for his devotion to his patients and friends who played an important role in his life, said the Post Bulletin.

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