December 7, 2008

Sunny von Bulow, 76, Dies after 28 Years in Coma

Heiress and socialite Martha “Sunny? von Bulow died Saturday after spending almost 28 years in an irreversible coma, her children said in a statement issues from Maureen Connelly, the family spokesperson, MSNBC said. She was 76.

The American heiress was the focus of one of the most sensational 1980s criminal cases.

Prosecutors alleged von Bulow was sent into the coma as a result of two murder attempts by her husband, Claus von Bulow, a British socialite.

On Dec. 21, 1980, Martha van Bulow was found unconscious on the bathroom floor of her Newport, R.I., mansion.

Claus von Bulow was convicted in 1982 of twice injecting his wife, who suffered from hypoglycemia, a low blood sugar condition, with insulin.

His conviction was appealed and overturned. In a second trial in 1985, he was acquitted.

Martha “Sunny? van Bulow is survived by her daughters, Cosima Pavoncelli and Annie-Laurie von Auersperg Kneissl Isham; her son, Alexander von Auersperg; and nine grandchildren, the New York Times said.

"We were blessed to have an extraordinarily loving and caring mother," von Bulow’s children said in a statement, according to CNN.

November 22, 2008

College Student Kills Himself in Front of Webcam

An internet audience watched as a college student committed suicide by taking a drug overdose Wednesday, the New York Times reported.

The family of Abraham Briggs says they are “horrified? that the online spectators and Web site operators waited until it was too late before acting to save the 19-year-old, according to FOX News.

Some of the spectators encouraged Briggs on to follow through with the suicide plan he posted to the Web site 12 hours before he died. Others cracked jokes and discussed whether or not he was taking a big enough dose to kill himself, Wendy Crane, an investigator with the Broward County medical examiner’s office, said to MSNBC.

Some of the viewers tried to talk Briggs out of his plan, the New York Times said.

Sometime after swallowing the pills, someone reported the situation to the moderator of the bodybuilding site the teenager was broadcasting from, MSNBC reported.

The moderator was able to trace Briggs’ location and notify the police. However, the police did not arrive in time to save him, FOX News said.

November 10, 2008

Obama Positioned to Quickly Enact Change

President-elect Barack Obama is in a position to quickly overturn policies put in place by President Bush, including taxpayer support of abortion and limits on oil expansion and stem cell research, the New York Times reported.

Although the complete list of policies to be reversed will not be announced until Obama meets with his new cabinet members, his advisers have already started working on finding what policies he would have authority to overturn with his executive powers, according to the New York Times.

The economic crisis at hand has given Obama additional power to enact change, FOX News said.

“The best thing for a president is to come in under crisis. You can’t ask for anything better,? James Ceaser, professor of politics at the University of Virginia said.

The crisis gives the president-elect “a ‘license’ to push through policy,? Ceaser said, according to FOX News.

Organizations like the Center for Reproductive Rights are clamoring to be heard. The organization called on Obama to repeal the gag rule enacted by President Bush that prohibited taxpayer dollars from being given to groups that perform abortions, the New York Times said.

While the economy is first on Obama’s agenda, the new administration is “looking for quick changes that Obama can make from his first day in office,? CNN reported.

November 8, 2008

Questions Raised in Senate Recount

A Ramsey County judge ruled Saturday against Republican Sen. Norm Coleman’s request to stop the opening and counting of 32 absentee ballots delivered late in the polling day, the Star Tribune reported.

The U.S. Senate race is headed toward an automatic recount because of the mere 221-vote advantage Coleman currently has over Democrat Al Franken, the Pioneer Press said.

Coleman’s campaign argued that the votes should not be counted because they were not opened on Nov. 4, according to the filed injunction, the Pioneer Press said.

Minneapolis elections director Cynthia Reichert called Friday morning, reporting that 32 ballots had been found, KARE 11 said, citing Colman’s campaign request.

"We were actually told they had been riding around in her car for several days, which raised all kinds of integrity questions," Fritz Knaak, Coleman's attorney, told WCCO.

Coleman’s campaign manager, Cullen Sheehan, raised questions as to how Coleman’s lead of more than 700 points has diminished to 221 points since Wednesday.

"Instead, of the normal slight changes in vote totals one would expect during this process, we are now seeing huge chunks of votes appearing and disappearing," Sheehan said to the Pioneer Press.

October 29, 2008

Body of Jennifer Hudson's Nephew Found

Police found the body of Jennifer Hudson’s 7-year-old nephew on Monday, three days after the young actress and singer’s mother and brother were found dead in their nearby home, according to the New York Times.

Julian King was found in Chicago’s West Side in an abandoned white Chevrolet Suburban that had belonged to Hudson’s brother, CNN reported. Julian died from “multiple gunshot wounds,? the article said.

The boy was the son of Jennifer Hudson’s sister, Julia Hudson, a FOX News report said.

Julia Hudson found the bodies of her mother, Darnell Donerson, and brother, Jason Hudson, shot to death in their home on Friday, according to police reported in the CNN article.

Julian’s stepfather, William Balfour, was detained Friday as a “person of interest? in connection with the slayings, the New York Times said.

No charges have been filed.

October 24, 2008

All-Electric MINI to be Released

BMW announced this week that drivers will soon be able to lease a “fleet? of 500 all-electric MINI E Coopers for $850 a month, CNN reported.

The cars will be available next year in California, New Jersey and New York as part of a plan to test the cars in the “real world? before trying to sell the car as a standard model at dealerships, a FOX News article said.

The MINI E can travel 150 miles before on a full charge, which requires the car to be plugged in at a standard outlet overnight, MSNBC said.

The car will also come with a high-amperage “wallbox? installed in the customer’s garage that can charge the vehicle in 2.5 hours, according to FOX News’ report.

One problem with the car is that the batter takes up the space that had been the back seat, making the MINI E a two-seater, MSNBC reported.

October 18, 2008

Grandfather Arrested in Kidnapping Case

Police arrested the grandfather of a kidnapped 6-year-old Las Vegas boy late Friday as “a person of interest? in the abduction, according to an ABC News report.

Cole Puffinburger was allegedly kidnapped Wednesday by police imposters who were involved in drug dealings with the boy’s grandfather, Clemons Fred Tennemeyer, 51, FOX News said.

CNN reported that officials “believe? that Cole was kidnapped as a message from drug dealers who Tennemayer may have stolen millions of dollars from in a drug dealing.

A nationwide Amber Alert for Cole was canceled Saturday without an explanation, according to the New York Times.

CNN reported that the alert was lifted because it had “run its course,? according to Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Capt. Vince Cannito.

Authorities described the suspects who posed as police officers as three Hispanic men, according to CNN.
Drug-related kidnappings are increasing around the Mexican border, according to authorities in the CNN article.

"Money is a huge factor, obviously. Drugs are a huge factor," Las Vegas police spokesman Chris Johnson said to FOX News. "The only innocent person involved in this entire operation is the boy."

October 10, 2008

Woman Hunting Rats Causes School Lockdown

A North Carolina woman hunting rats caused a nearby public school a scare Friday, police according to an Associated Press story run by KRON.

A bus driver saw the armed woman who authorities thought was a student on school property, The Times-News of Hendersonville reported.

After an hour-long lockdown officials determined the woman was not on school property or a threat to the students.

Sheriff Rick Davis said that the response was handled excellently by the school staff in an ABC News article.

September 29, 2008

House Rejects Bailout Plan

The House of Representatives rejected the government’s proposed $700 billion bailout Monday, resulting in the biggest closing point drop of the Dow Jones industrial average in history, according to an NPR report.

About one-third of Democrats and two-thirds of Republicans voted against the bill with the final vote of 205-228 against the proposal.

Many lawmakers found it hard to come to the rescue “of an out-of-control market that had played fast and loose with housing loans,? reported FOX News. Others cited reasons for opposition such as the expansion of national debt or voters’ lack of support, FOX News said.

The lack of voter support stems from the perception that the bill serves to bail out Wall Street bankers who are seen as “incompetent fat cats who have created this crisis themselves and who are now being allowed to pick the pockets of American voters to fix it,? one BBC article said.

"Like the Iraq war and Patriot Act, this bill is fueled by fear and haste," Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas said in a CNN report.

The House of Representatives continues to work together to come up with a plan, ABC News reported.

“I’m confident in that in the long run, America will overcome these challenges and remain the most dynamic and productive economy in the world,? President Bush said in a speech covered by FOX News.

September 27, 2008

Concerns Raised Over Proposed Bailout

Lawmakers from both parties expressed skepticism Tuesday concerning the Bush administration’s $700 billion proposal to bail out the financial industry.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Beranke urged Congress to pass the legislation this week to avoid “a scenario in which neither businesses not consumers could borrow money,? according to a FOX News report.

One main concern of this proposal is that taxpayer dollars could contribute to the multimillion-dollar CEO salaries of companies that would have otherwise been bankrupt, reported a CNN story.

Leaders from both parties voiced concern over spending $700 billion of taxpayers’ money to risk helping out Wall Street, reported CNN.

Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut, told The Associated Press in a New York Times article that it infuriated him that taxpayers should have to pay for “the authors of this calamity? to walk away “with the usual golden parachutes.?

Dodd described the Wall Street disaster as “entirely foreseeable and preventable.? Emphasizing that the proposal would give Mr. Paulson authority “to act with ‘absolute impunity,’? Dodd said to the New York Times, “I can only conclude that it is not only our economy that is at risk, Mr. Secretary, but our Constitution, as well.?

“It’s financial socialism, and it’s un-American,? Jim Bunning, Republican of Kentucky, said to the New York Times. He said the proposal would “take Wall Street’s pain and spread it to the taxpayers.?

September 16, 2008

Disaster on Wall Street

The stock market faced the “worst daily loss in seven years? Monday as the Dow dropped more than 500 points, according to a New York Times report.

CNN called it “one of the most harrowing days in the history of U.S. financial industry.?

Merrill Lynch was sold to Bank of America. Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy. The world’s largest insurance company, American International Group Inc., fights to face the same fate.

According to one MSNBC report, the turmoil stems from “now toxic subprime mortgage debt.?

Treasury secretary, Henry M. Paulson Jr., agreed with the analysis in a briefing Monday. “The housing correction is at the root of the challenges facing our markets and our financial institutions,? he said to the New York Times.

Although the implications are worldwide, Stephen Lewis, chief economist at Monument Securities in London told the New York Times, “It’s not a panic by any means… but we’re looking at a long, long convalescence.?

September 14, 2008

Investigation on Los Angeles Train Crash Begins

After the death of at least 24 people in a train collision Friday in suburban Los Angeles, authorities are beginning to look into the cause of the accident.

The crash was most likely caused by the failure of the commuter engineer to stop at a red signal, said a Denisa Tyrrell, a Metrolink representative in an ABC News report.

The engineer, who had worked for a subcontractor that Metrolink has used for the past 10 years, died in the crash, according to a report in the New York Times.

Although a representative for Union Pacific said that “it is common in California for freight and commuter trains to use one track?, Steven Klum, a Federal Railroad Administration spokesman said that they were “nowhere near having information? on how the two trains collided on the same track.

“When two trains are in the same place at the same time somebody’s made a terrible mistake,? said Tyrrell in a FOX News report.

With 135 people injured and more bodies remaining in the debris, FOX News has reported the accident to be “the deadliest U.S. passenger railroad crash in 15 years?.

The carnage was the worst that the Los Angeles firefighters had ever seen, said Fire Capt. Steve Ruda in a USAToday report.

A team from the National Transportation Safety Board will begin investigating the accident, according to a CNN report.