May 4, 2008

Coed dorm rooms now allowed

Major colleges in the United States are allowing for dormitory rooms to be coed, the Associated Press said.

Schools including Brown University, the University of Pennsylvania, Oberlin College, Clark University and the California Institute of Technology are allowing students of the opposite sex to share a dorm room, The Washington Times said. Other schools such as Stanford University will also allow the policy in the fall semester of 2008.

Students and schools say that the policy comes primarily from those who want to live with close friends who are of the opposite sex, although couples living together are not unheard of.

"It ultimately comes down to finding someone that you feel is compatible with you," said Jeffrey Chang, a junior at Clark in Worcester, Mass., who co-founded the National Student Genderblind Campaign, a group that is pushing for gender-neutral housing. "Students aren't doing this to make a point. They're not doing this to upset their parents. It's really for practical reasons."

April 29, 2008

Tornados in Virginia

Over 200 people were injured when 3 tornados ripped apart central and southeast Virginia on Monday, officials said. CNN

The tornados devastated the area, tearing down many homes and businesses, Bob Spieldenner, member of the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, said. New York Times

Meteorologists from the National Weather Service said the first tornado hit Sentara Obici Hospital Suffolk, the second hit Colonial Heights, about 60 miles northwest, and the third twister hit Lawrenceville, a town 70 miles south of Richmond. CNN

Terry Tysinger, spokeswoman for Southside Regional Medical Center in Petersburg, said most injuries were not life threatening. New York Times

April 15, 2008

Cougar shot dead in Chicago

A 150 pound cougar was shot dead by police who feared attack on the streets of Chicago after he had been roaming the city for several days, officials said. Chicago Tribune

The cougar was shot in Roscoe Village neighborhood, though no one knew where it had come from. WBZTV

There had been several sightings of the cougar throughout the city, police said.Chicago Tribune

Frank Hirschmann saw the cougar, and was frightened, he said. "I seen a mountain lion jump a six-foot fence like it was nothing right by my house," he said.

Upon receiving the first call of the sighting on Monday morning, Animal Control used guns with tranquilizers in them, but had switched to bullets by the time it was found. Chicago Tribune

"It's a shame to lose such a beautiful animal, but it had to be done," said witness Ed McCarthy. WBZTV

April 10, 2008

American Airlines Flights Cancelled

American Airlines cancelled more than 1,000 flights, almost half its schedule, on Wednesday to inspect jets, an issue that also flared up two weeks ago. Associated Press>a/>

The inspection was conducted in order to fix faulty wiring that could short-circuit or even explode. Federal inspectors found problems with wiring work done two weeks ago, although the airline says passenger safety was never jeopardized. Associated Press

The airplanes could hold 100 passengers, meaning that about 100,000 travelers may have been without a flight. a/>

A spokesman for American Airlines said the planes may be out of commission for the rest of the week as inspections continue.

Passengers are concerned with safety, and disgruntled about the short notice of flight cancellations. a/>

"They should be able to predict these kinds of things," said Laura Goodman, whose flight home to Dallas was canceled.

April 8, 2008

Navy SEAl hero saves friends

The Medal of Honor will be awarded to Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Monsoor posthumous on Tuesday. CNN

A grenade bounced off his chest and landed in the area where he and fellow troops were stationed in Iraq on September 29, 2006. This promoted Monsoor to jump on the grenade and take its full impact.

The Navy said he committed a selfless act based on instinct to save his comrades, the Navy said.

Monsoor was a highly trained combatant, a Navy SEAL. He will be the first Navy SEAL to receive the Medal of Honor.

He also received the Silver Star and the Bronze Star during his time in combat in Iraq.

"His leadership, guidance and decisive actions during 11 different combat operations saved the lives of his teammates, other coalition forces and Iraqi army soldiers," according to Navy documents. CNN

April 1, 2008

Congress lays into Big Oil

Lawmakers drilled major oil executives on Tuesday about their tax breaks, given the current high rate in gas and oil charges. ABC News

Five top executives from the major U.S. oil companies appeared before Congress and were criticized for their failure to eliminate about $18 billion in tax breaks over a ten year period, which occurred during a time of record profits fro the oil industry. ABC News

Representatives from Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell, BP, Chevron, and ConocoPhillips were also grilled for not investing in renewable resources amid record prices for oil and gasoline..CNN

"Americans are hoping that the top executives from the five largest oil companies will tell us that these soaring gas prices are just part of some elaborate hoax," said Ed Markey, D-Mass, chairman of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. "Unfortunately, it's not a joke." CNN

Environmental laws waived for new border fence

Environmental laws will be waived by the Bush administration in order to finish building a 670 mile fence along the southwest U.S. border by the end of this year, federal officials said. LA Times

More than 30 laws and regulations will be bypassed by the Department of Homeland Security in order to complete the border fence that stretches across California, New Mexico, Arizona and Texas, federal officials said. LA Times

"Criminal activity at the border does not stop for endless debate or protracted litigation," Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said in a statement. "These waivers will enable important security projects to keep moving forward." The Associated Press

The waivers are controversial with environmentalists and communities along the border, who see the fence as damaging to the land and the wildlife, The Associated Press said.

"Unwilling to consult with local communities or to follow long-standing laws, Secretary Chertoff chose to bypass stakeholders and push through this unpopular project on April Fool's Day," Sierra Club executive director Carl Pope said in a statement. "We don't think the destruction of the borderlands region is a laughing matter." LA Times

Conservatives are for the waivers because of the 2006 Secure Fence Act. Republicans also welcomed the news. The Associated Press

March 25, 2008

Detroit mayor charged with perjury

Kwame Kilpatrick, mayor of Detroit, was charged with felony perjury and obstruction of justice on Monday, said the Washington Post.

Kilpatrick was found to be lying about a romantic affair with his chief of staff, which contradicted their sworn court testimony. CNN

The mayor read from a prepared statement an hour after the charges were made, saying he was "deeply disappointed in the prosecutor's decision" to file charges, and that he will focus on the city's economy. CNN

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy charged the mayor with eight felonies and the mayor's former chief of staff, Christine Beatty, with seven. Washington Post

"Our investigation has clearly shown that public dollars were used, people's lives were ruined, the justice system severely mocked and the public trust trampled on," Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy told reporters. "Witnesses must give truthful testimony. Oaths mean something." Washington Post

March 16, 2008

Crane collapse kills at least 4

A large construction crane collapsed on the lower east side of Manhattan on Saturday, leaving at least 4 dead and many injured, the New York Times said.

The crane, which was at least 15 stories tall, damaged a residential building across the street from the construction said, eyewitnesses and police said. CNN

A piece of steel severed one of the ties holding the crane up, head of the construction crew said.

John PlaGreco, owner of the bar in the collapsed building, said he was worried that one of his employees was dead in the rubble. CNN

"Our bar is done," he said. "The crane crashed the whole building. If I wasn't watching a Yankees game, I would've come to work early and gotten killed." New York Times

March 15, 2008

Controversial treatment of disabled children

The parents of a disabled girl announced today that they are happy with the decision they made a year ago to perform a controversial treatment that stunted their daughter's growth, CNN said.

An article from ABC last year ABC says that the parents of the girl, Ashley, were worried about how difficult caring for their daughter would be if she were to continue growing. They were also concerned about how Ashley would be alarmed at her own development into a woman.

Ashley underwent a hysterectomy, breast surgery, and drug treatment to stay forever small, ABC said.

A year later, the parents are happy with the results of their decision to give their daughter what has now been called the "Ashley treatment."

"The 'Ashley treatment' has been successful in every expected way," Ashley's parents told CNN said. . "It has potential to help many others like it helped our precious daughter."

Controversy continues to surround the parents, who choose to remain anonymous. The hospital that hosted Ashley's treatment admitted to breaking Washington state law; furthermore Dr. Daniel Gunther, the doctor who oversaw Ashley's treatment committed suicide. CNN

The issue remains controversial, with people who agree that the treatment is a helpful option for caregivers of disabled people, and with those who agree that the treatment is a mutilation performed by doctors "playing God."

March 5, 2008

McCain the republican nominee

Sen. John McCain locked up his Republican candidacy for the 2008 election upon winning essential states in the primary elections Tuesday CNN said.

Winning the primaries in Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas, and Vermont gave him more than the 1,191 delegates he needed to clinch the GOP nomination. CNN

Mike Huckabee dropped out of the presidential race when the results came in.

"The most important race begins,'' he said in an interview with the Associated Press. BBC

President Bush will endorse McCain at the White House later this week, Republican sources said.

"I am very, very grateful and pleased to note that tonight, my friends, we have won enough delegates to claim with confidence, humility and a great sense of responsibility, that I will be the Republican nominee for president of the United States," McCain told supporters Tuesday night. BBC

March 2, 2008

Teenage daughter charged with the murder of her family members

A family's disallowance of a romance may have lead to the charging of a teenage daughter with the murder of her mother and two brothers in Texas, authorities said Sunday. CNN

The attacks occurred at the home of Terry and Penny Caffey, a statement released by Rains County Sheriff David Traylor said. The house was burned to the ground, and in it the bodies of Penny Caffey, 37, and her two sons, ages 8 and 13, were found. They had been shot and stabbed, the statement said. The father is in critical condition at East Texas Medical Center close to the Caffey's home.
Associated Press

The 16-year-old daughter and three other suspects are in custody on capital murder charges. CNN

"Early on in the investigation, it was revealed that the juvenile and one of the suspects were dating and made to break up," according to the statement. Associated Press

The mayor of the town said that this is the first murder the town 18 years. CNN

February 26, 2008

In-flight death of a Brooklyn mother

A Brooklyn mother on board an American Airlines flight died Friday after two oxygen tanks failed to revive her, relatives of the woman said. NY Daily News

Carine Desir, 44, a nurse and a mother, was flying from Haiti to JFK airport when she collapsed, moaning, "Don't let me die," witnesses said NY Daily News

Flight attendants and medical professionals onboard tried to save Desir by giving her oxygen, but it could not be determined if the oxygen was flowing properly, medical personnel said. CNN

Desir's family says that flight attendants and equipment are to blame for her death. Spokesmen for American Airlines maintain that attendants acted as trained, and equipment was in working order. CNN

The cause of death was a complication with heart disease and diabetes, said Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner's office. CNN

February 24, 2008

Ralph Nader enters presidential election

Ralph Nader announced Sunday that he is entering the 2008 presidential election. MSNBC

The political activist will run as an Independent, saying that most Americans are dissatisfied with the Republican and Democratic parties. This will be his third time running for president. MSNBC

Many Democrats do not support Nader, saying that his candidacy in the 2004 election cost Al Gore votes in Florida. Nader disputes this, however, saying that the Democrats themselves are to blame. CNN

Nader told voters to look at his campaign site,, which he said contains important issues that Obama and Sen. John McCain "are not addressing." CNN

February 21, 2008

Gray wolves off endangered list

Gray wolves in the Northern Rockies were removed from the endangered species list Thursday, said The Daily Green.

The wolves have been on the list for 13 years, and their population has skyrocketed as a result of the protection, conservationists said. About 1,500 wolves live in Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana, which is a promising change, said MSNBC. (

The U.S. Department of Interior announced the removal, which allows for hunting of gray wolves to begin again, possibly in the upcoming year. ( .

Conservation groups such as the Sierra Club are encouraged by the increasing numbers of gray wolves, but do not want the animals off the endangered species list.

“The decision to remove protections for wolves is premature. We still have a long way to go before wolf populations are sustainable over the long term. This is like declaring victory at mile eighteen in a marathon,? said Melanie Stein, a spokeswoman for the Sierra Club. The Daily Green

February 14, 2008

California boy shot at school

A California student was shot by a classmate on Wednesday, according to the Associated Press.

Lawrence King, 15, was pronounced brain dead at about 9:30 p.m. He was in his first period English class at his junior high school in California, police said. He is on a ventilator for possible organ donation on request of his family, said a medical examiner at St. John's Regional Medical Center. MSNBC.

The 14-year-old boy suspected of killing King was arrested following the shooting. The boy may face charges of murder if King dies, Prosecutor Greg Totten said. MSNBC

Motives for the killing, which took place in front of over twenty other students, were unclear. Associated Press.

February 7, 2008

Tornados sweep the South

Tornados struck the South on Tuesday, killing at least 54 people and injuring many others, according to ABC News.

There were more than 50 tornados that swept through several U.S. States, killing four in Alabama, 13 in Arkansas, seven in Kentucky and 30 in Tennessee. Damages included the tearing apart of a dormitory in Tennessee, destruction of highways, the loss of many homes. CNN

This is the most destruction tornado outbreak in over 20 years. It is rare for the tornados to occur during the winter time, and during the early morning hours. Many had little to no warning about the storms, said victims.

The final death count is yet to be determined, but damages are severe in all areas that the tornados struck. CNN

February 3, 2008

Teenage Boy Murders Family

A 15-year-boy was charged with the murder of his parents and two younger brothers on Sunday morning in Cockeysville, Md, according to CBS News (

Nicholas W. Browning was charged with first-degree murder of his father, John Browning, 45; his mother, Tamara, 44; and his brothers Gregory, 13, and Benjamin, 11. (CBS News) The father was found on the first floor, while the other family members were found in their beds at approximately 1 a.m. on Sunday.

According to local police the teenager was arrested at 1:05 a.m. after admitting to the murders. Browning, who had not been on good terms with his father, entered the house and killed the family members with his father's handgun on Friday night. The gun was found in the bushes near the Brownings' house, according to MSNBC. (

Browning is too young to receive the death penalty even if convicted with four counts of first-degree murder.

One resident of Cockeysville said, "Very shocking. This is a great neighborhood, great neighborhood. Nothing like this ever happens around here. Nothing, ever. Very quiet." (CBS News)