April 27, 2009

Violent Attacks Centered around Roma's in Hungary

A Roma man, many know him as a gypsy, was shot returning from his work shift Saturday and some feel it was by the hands of trained officials.

Roma's who are among Europe's most oppressed minority groups have been the targets of violent attacks for years, over seven cases have been reported in the last year, but just recently three cases have seen to be linked.

According to the Star Tribune, the authorities say the attacks may have been carried out by police officers or military personnel, based on the stealth and accuracy with which the victims were killed.

“One thing to remember, the Holocaust did not start at the gas chambers,” said Lajos Korozs, senior state secretary in the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor, who works on Roma issues for the government.

Jozsef Bencze, Hungary’s national police chief, said in an interview on Friday with the daily newspaper Nepszabadsag that the perpetrators, believed to be a group of four or more men in their 40s, were killing “with hands that are too confident.” Military counterintelligence is taking part in the investigation.

100 Dead Following Tribal Confict in Southern Sudan

The act of ethnic cleansing has caused more than 100 deaths in Southern Sudan this weekend, the violence is said to have been started by deep-rooted tribal differences.

During the fighting, many Lou Nuer tribe were killed, some feel that it may have been in retaliation for an attack in March on a rival ethnic group, the Murle, in which more than 400 died. Officials fear now that back-and-forth violence in Jonglei State could escalate unless there is decisive intervention. Only one company of United Nations peacekeepers is currently on the ground.

“The problem with the war is, it brought in large quantities of weapons, so it is much more lethal,” said David Gressly, the United Nations regional coordinator for southern Sudan said in an interview with the New York TImes.

Initial fighting is said to have began over cattle rustling by the Murle. Left-over weapons from the country's civil war that ended in 2005 have been used to fuel the conflict.

Child abduction has also been a common occurrence in the area during times of upheaval. Child Protection International has taken notice of the situation and are dedicated to implementing child registration in hopes of easing the retrieval of such children.

Continue reading "100 Dead Following Tribal Confict in Southern Sudan" »

Public Health Emergency Declared Over Swine Flu

20 confirmed cases of swine flu caused the American health officials to declare a state of emergency Sunday over the disease that has caused over 103 deaths in Mexico.

The U.S. is not that only nation keeping a close eye on the situation, other nations have implemented specific travel bans for those arriving from Mexico and Canada.

Experts are still unsure regarding the severity of this particular strain of flu.

"We’re in a period in which the picture is evolving,” Dr. Keiji Fukuda, deputy director general of the World Health Organization said in an interview with the Star Tribune. “We need to know the extent to which it causes mild and serious infections.”

Among the 20 confirmed cases, eight have been treated in New York Alone. So far no cases have been heard of in Minnesota.

"We don't want people to panic," Dr. Ruth Lynfield, Minnesota state epidemiologist, said at a news conference in St. Paul. "This has not been severe here."

Other states and territories in which cases have been confirmed include: Kansas, Ohio, California, Texas and Nova Scotia.

Man dies, one is resuced in Mississippi River accident

A man exploring an urban tunnel near the Mississippi River was pronounced dead Sunday after being trapped by incoming rain water, another man survived.

According to the Star Tribune, Ian William Talty, 30, of Woodbury, died despite a frantic rescue effort by a St. Paul police officer and several students from the nearby University of St. Thomas, said St. Paul Fire Marshal Steve Zaccard.

Nicholas Breid, 29, was exploring with Talty and was able to swim ashore and call for help. His screams were heard by several University of St. Paul students working at a nearby boat house who immediately called authorities.

"They were done with their work when they heard the yells," said Doug Hennes, a St. Thomas spokesman. "They couldn't see the person ... but they ran down, got the boats out and away they went."

One student, Danielle Assie, explains their actions.

"Jim and I were in one boat and a St. Paul police officer got in the launch [boat] with us," Assie told the St. Thomas Web-based publication Bulletin Today. "We went up and down the river a couple of times looking for anything ... the third time, Jim saw a backpack floating in the river."

Talty was found 500 yards from the initial scene. After multiple rounds of CPR he was brought to Hennepin County Medical Center where he was pronounced dead. An official autopsy has yet to remain.

University Students Riot in Dinkytown

Spring Jam is a weekend that many University of Minnesota students look forward to all year long. All day parties and a free concert is among most of the popular events, but this year a new addition has been made to the list - rioting.

A block party that had begun earlier in the day began to escalate Saturday evening causing the Minneapolis police to react with force. A large bonfire was starting from tree branches in the middle of the street and several students were seen trying to flip over a car.

Officers first responded to the scene around 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. and met partygoers throwing bottles and rocks, Minneapolis police Sgt. Jesse Garcia said in an interview with the Minnesota Daily.

As well as using pepper spray and tear gas, six students were brought to the ground and tied up before being put under arrest.

"I was focusing my camera when after 20 seconds, without any warning, I felt something like a baseball hit me in the groin and dropped to my knees," university student Peter Robbins said in an interview with the Star Tribune. "The next thing I knew, there were guys on top of me, smashing me into the ground, putting zip ties on my wrists and throwing me in a van."

Witnesses say that over 400 students were in attendance through out the course of the night. Many left with minor cuts and bruises but no one was seriously injured.

April 20, 2009

Twins Sweep Angels in Weekend Series

The Minnesota Twins were hoping to find a series that they could leave the Metrodome feeling proud of and this weekend they found it.

The Twins exited the weekend with a three-game sweep of Los Angeles Angels, including miraculous win Friday with a seven run rally led by Jason Kubel.

"Friday when we did what we did, it breathed some life back into us, almost like CPR," Twins outfielder Michael Cuddyer said in an interview with the Star Tribune.

The weekend victory could not have come at a better time. After losing three of their four games against Toronto, manager Ron Gardenhire needed something positive to say to the team.

"There's that doubt in your mind when you get beat, 'What are we doing?' " Gardenhire said. "It puts more pressure on to do things. So a couple of games like this sort of reminds you that you are a good baseball team."

Some feel that the Angels performance may have been affected by the recent loss of 22-year-old pitcher Nick Adenhart in a traffic accident.

"A lot of these guys grew up with Nick. I'm not going to say that's 100% the reason why we're struggling," center fielder Torii Hunter said in an interview with the LA Times. "But you can tell it still affects this club."

5 Bodies Found in Maryland Home

A multiple murder-suicide was the result of 5 found dead in a northwest Maryland home Saturday.

Christopher Alan Wood, 34, used a .25-calibar handgun to kill his wife and three young children at their home in Middletown. He later used the weapon to kill himself. Their bodies were discovered by the children's grandfather.

According to the Baltimore Sun, authorities also said they found five handwritten notes at the scene indicating that Christopher Wood, an employee at CSX, may have had psychological and financial problems.

Wood had been transferred from Jacksonville, Fla., for work as an account manager in the sales and marketing group at CSX Corp. in Baltimore, a company spokesman said.

Authorities found the couple's two sons, ages 5 and 4, dead in their beds, and the bodies of their 2-year-old daughter and Francis Wood were in the master bedroom, Frederick County sheriff's office spokeswoman Jennifer Bailey said in an interview with the Chicago Tribune. On the master bedroom floor was Christopher Wood's body, she said.

"There were no red flags. They were a very loving family," next-door neighbor Pat Hendricks said.

optimism emerges at summit conference

President Barack Obama shook hands with America's hemispheric neighbors Saturday, at the 5th ever summit conference in Trinidad and Tobago.

Obama proclaimed a new dawn for relations in southern regions, which had been marked by bitter disagreements in recent years with the United States.

"I have a lot to learn and I very much look forward to listening and figuring out how we can work together more effectively," Obama said as reported by MNSBC.

The two-day summit led critics of the Obama administration with doubts.

Senator John Ensign, Republican of Nevada, said in an interview with the New York Times, that it was “irresponsible for the president” to be seen laughing and joking with “one of the most anti-American leaders in the entire world,” referring to Mr. Chávez.

However, many others are hopeful that the summit will be a doorway to such discussions of the US trade embargo and political prisoners.

According to the New York Times, Obama also sought to calibrate his message, saying Sunday that he had “great differences” with Mr. Chávez and insisting that freedom for the Cuban people would remain the guiding principle of his foreign policy.

Bloomington Sex Offender Missed During Background Check

A convicted sex offender with a criminal background had apparently slipped through the cracks during a background check done by Bloomington school system.

Randy Lee Ronning, 36, was charged last week of sexually assaulting two young girls at a Bloomington Days Inn where he was babysitting.

According to the Star Tribune, police talked to one girl who said Ronning touched her inappropriately, while a second said that Ronning, her longtime babysitter, had molested her since she was 8 years old.

Ronning worked as a school bus aid helping disabled children on and off of their buses. He also helped coach floor hockey in 2008 as well as softball in 2006.

"Things like this will drive you to change things," Schulze said in prior interview with the Star Tribune. "It's very shocking something, like this. We can't stay as comfortable as we've been."

Ronning was convicted of two counts of first-degree criminal sexual assault.

Iranian President Feels North Dakotan Journalist Deserves Full Defense

An Iranian-American journalist from Fargo convicted of espionage against Iran has been giving the ability to defend herself in Iranian court preceding.

Roxana Saberi, 31, was arrested in January for the petty charge of purchasing alcohol, which proceeded to working in Iran with an expired permit was later transformed into charges of espionage and sentenced to 8 years in prison.

The Star Tribune wrote that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sent a letter to Tehran's chief prosecutor instructing him to personally ensure that "suspects be given all their rights to defend themselves" against the charges. "Prepare for the court proceedings ... to observe and apply justice precisely," the state news agency IRNA quoted him as saying.

The letter came as a sign to the US that President Ahmadinejad does not want this case to spoil future working conditions with the Obama administration.

As reported by the BCC, a spokesman said the US president was "deeply disappointed" at the outcome.

Saberi is the first Iranian-American to be convicted of espionage in Iran and claims she was "coerced and deceived" by Iranian authorities.

April 13, 2009

Obama's half-brother denied a visa

President Barack Obama's half brother was denied a visa to return to Britain after giving officials a fake name after being accused for sexual assault last year.

According to News of the World, Samson Obama was arrested by British police last November who accused him of sexually assaulting a girl. Samson Obama gave officers a false identity at the time of his arrest, claiming to be Henry Aloo, the report said. He was fingerprinted but not charged, and he left Britain.

S. Obama was caught trying to re-enter Britain in order to visit family members when he was stopped by immigration.

“This was obviously an extremely sensitive issue when it was flashed up by the database,” an unidentified official in the British Home Office said in an interview with the New York Times.

The Border Agency, which is responsible for immigration issues, said, “We will oppose the entry of individuals to the U.K. where we believe their presence is not conducive to the public good.”

Chicago Library Bans Bad Hygiene

Patrons of the Schaumburg Township District Library are no longer to enter the building without checking their bodily odor beforehand.

The library recently added a ban on "offensive bodily odors" to its restrictions list along with loud noises and rowdiness.

In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Director Stephanie Sarnoff said the aroma would have to be so overpowering that it interfered with others' use of the facility. And while the policy stemmed from complaints about an apparently homeless person, Sarnoff said it would apply just as much to an overuse of perfume as an underuse of soap.

"People who use libraries are usually very understanding about the foibles of others," she said. "So when one or more library users complain that another person's hygiene is of such poor quality that it is prohibiting them from pursuing what they want to do, their problem becomes our problem."

Many in the city fear that this ban is unfair.

A second crest expected in Fargo

The Red River is expected to rise once again in parts of northern North Dakota.

The crest has been predicted to rise up to 38 or 40 feet later this week. That spike is expected Thursday, Friday or Saturday, said hydrologist Mike DeWeese in an interview with the Star Tribune. "We're hopeful that it will remain on the lower end," DeWeese said. "We'll take a closer look" today and revise the projection as needed.

Residents are preparing for the event by continuing to sandbag and even evacuation certain situations. However, many officials are staying optimistic.

It is unusual to have two independent crests in a single spring flood season, DeWeese said.

According to a flood update in the Inforum, about 250 vounteers turned out at Minnesota State Community and Technical College-Moorhead this morning to help fill sandbags, but officials there say they could use another 250 volunteers. Volunteers should report to the college, park on the south side and register as a volunteer inside.

Search Still on for Missing St. Thomas Student

The search continues for an University of St. Thomas freshman who has been missing since early morning of April 5th.

19-year-old Dan Zamlen was last heard from walking along the Mississippi River bluffs from St. Thomas to the University of Minnesota after leaving a party.

According to the Star Tribune, friends and family have been gathering at the local church where Zamlen thought classes and carried incense during mass. Members of the Resurrection Catholic Church have been saying prayers daily for a safe return.

The Rev. Charles Flynn said Zamlen's mother, Sally, told him the search is "not anywhere near over."

Many others from Zamlen's native town Eveleth, Minn. have traveled to the St. Paul area to help in the search.

According to an article by the Pioneer Press, Zamlen is Type 1 diabetes and by this time he will be borderline comatose.

"It's critical that we find Daniel and that we find Daniel quickly," St. Paul Police Chief John Harrington said.

3 Pirates Killed, American Captian Saved

3 pirates were shot by U.S. military forces in order to save an American ship captain who had been hijacked earlier in the week.

53-year-old freighter Capt. Richard Phillips was taken hostage Wednesday by pirates who tried to hijack the U.S.-flagged Maersk Alabama. According to the Star Tribune, Phillips was held on a small lifeboat being dragged by a larger vessel.
“I share the country’s admiration for the bravery of Captain Phillips and his selfless concern for his crew,” Mr. Obama said in a statement. “His courage is a model for all Americans.”
The mission had been personally approved by President Barack Obama who was quoted saying that Phillips was in "imminent danger" of being killed.

The mission was completed with a mere three shots. one each by snipers firing from a distance at dusk, using night-vision scopes, the officials said to the New York Times.

A fourth sniper had surrendered earlier in the day and may face life in U.S. prison.