December 8, 2008

Two planes collide in Florida, four killed

According to USA Today, two small planes collided outside of Fort Lauderdale over the Florida Everglades over the weekend, as searches began early Sunday as four passengers are presumed dead.

The Denver Post identified one possible victim as Brian Sax, 37, a Colorado businessman from Basalt, Co., who, according to family, was one of the pilots for one of the ill-fated planes.

Both aircraft, which took off at similar times, were both carrying two passengers aboard, each had one pilot instructing another student during flight training programs that both pilots were involved in.

According to the Broward County Sheriff's department, the pilots were operating under Visual Flight Rules, which insist that the pilots maintain distance from aircraft and operate without any air-traffic assistance.

Sax also has a flight school back in Colorado. Aspen Aero Flight school, which Sax opened along with his wife, Christy, who also operates a local resteraunt.

Ethics code may be instated after New Brighton Prostitution sting

New Brighton City Council Member David Phillips, 59, who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor solicitation charges late last month, may be inspiring a new ethics policy for city officials, according to the Star Tribune.

New Brighton Mayor Steve Larson has placed the installation of an ethic policy as a top priority for 2009.

Public outcry aided in the decision, after Phillips, who was elected to city council last year, was arrested in a prostitution sting last winter and plead guilty. Phillips was given one year of probation and fined $858 dollars for his actions.

In spite of the public's disapproval, Phillips has given no indication that he will resign.

"As city residents, you want your leaders to be people of character and moral value," said Pat Montague, a 15-year New Brighton resident who was having lunch Monday at the Bru House, a coffee shop on Silver Lake Road. "I think these decisions have shown him to be neither of those."

City policy states that although Phillips actions were illegal there is no grounds for his removal and Larson not push for a Phillips resignation as a result.

Trash cans burned feverishly into the night as riot police threw tear gas into crowds of rioting young people.

Youth in Athens, Greece continued a second day of rioting in response to the death of a 15-year-old boy at the hands of Athens authorities, according to the New York Times.

Officials were optimistic that the rioting was quelled on Saturday.

"It at first seemed like it was calming down today, but then at 5 p.m. Athens time it kicked off again," according to Joel Brown, a CNN senior press officer visiting Athens. "There are lots of burning bins and debris in the street and a huge amount of tear gas in the air, which we got choked with on the way back to our hotel," he said.

CNN reports, that the officer responsible with the 15year-old's death has been charged with premeditated murder, but that the action has failed to stop the rioting.

The Greek government has grown accustomed to displeasure of the ruling class among the young people of Greece. However, according to the New York Times, the speed and ferocity of the rioting in this instance has taken Greek officials by surprise.

Rioters have used additional media outlets, such as the internet, to organize and coordinate the ritoing, which has involved car burnings and building intrusions.

Ironically, the boy whom the officer is responsible for killing and serves as the catalyst for the current rioting, was shot after a number of demonstrators pelted police vehicles with rocks, the boy included.

Far from warranting the attacks, Greek Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos stated that a backlash is to be expected.

“It is inconceivable for there not to be punishment when a person, let alone a minor, loses their life.? He added: “The loss of life is something that is inconceivable in a democracy.?

November 19, 2008

Wild dogs kill gazzelles at Jackson Zoo

According to the Clarion Ledger, officials from the Jackson Zoo in Jackson, Miss. reported that two dama gazelles were killed by feral dogs late Tuesday night.

The juvenile gazelles, at the time of the incident, were in a quarantine pen having just been received, ten days earlier, from the Memphis Zoo in exchange for an adult gazelle.

However, the pen was inadequate in keeping the wild dogs from the enclosure, which, according to Chris Mims, Jackson Zoo's director of marketing, is by design. The quarantine is only to keep the animals in, not to keep other animals out, Mims added.

According to WAPT 16 in Jackson, Zoo officials located a dog on Wednesday in an undeveloped area of the zoo. The dog, a labrador-mix, is believed to be one of the animals involved in the attack.

The Jackson Zoo has reported five incidents over the past 30 days involving wild dogs. As officials remain puzzled as to how the animals were able to enter the zoo unnoticed.

Animal control has been contacted, as the zoo looks to resolve the recurring issue, as it has become a legitimate problem for staff and the animals that reside within the zoo's various enclosures.

Al-Queda No. 2 Attacks President-Elect

According to USA Today, an 11-minute video released Wednesday on Al-Jazzera television, shows a subtitled message from Al-Queda's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahri, where he addresses the election of Barack Obama to the highest government post, referring to Obama as a "house slave" for white hegemony.

The video makes reference to the Nov. 5th U.S. bombing in Pakistan, which gives a loose timetable for the messages creation. The fact that the video was just released, almost two weeks since the election, has many critics speculating that Al-Queda fear that Obama will be viewed positively by less radical muslims (Obama's father was Muslim).

As reported by the Washington Post :"Zawahiri and others in al-Qaeda recognize that Obama has a certain appeal, not just to Americans but to people in the developing world," said Evan F. Kohlmann, a terrorism analyst and senior investigator for the Nine/Eleven Finding Answers Foundation. "They feel a need to dampen this sense and enthusiasm and excitement for Obama."

Zawahiri, 57, continued to berate Obama and other African figures in U.S. government, including Colin Powell and Condolezza Rice, with negative comparisons to bygone Muslim figure, Malcolm X. Stating that Obama, and others like him, represent essentially what Malcolm X meant when he coined "house negro."

Additionally, Zawahiri stated that Obama's presidential victory represents the failures of the U.S. in Iraq and Afghanistan, to date. He continues by backhandedly goading Obama to continue similar foreign policy in the wake of America's middle-east mistakes.

"If you still want to be stubborn about America's failure in Afghanistan, then remember the fate of Bush and Pervez Musharraf, and the fate of the Soviets and British before them," Zawahiri said, referring to the former president of Pakistan, who resigned under pressure this year. "And be aware that the dogs of Afghanistan have found the flesh of your soldiers to be delicious, so send thousands after thousands to them."

Obama has made it evident that he fully intends to transfer forces from Iraq and put more pressure on the Al-Queda factions within Pakistan, where it is believed that Zawahiri is hiding.

November 11, 2008

Mexican President names new Interior Minister

Mexican President Felipe Calderon appointed a new Interior Minister on Monday, just one week after former Interior Minister Juan Camilo Mouriño was killed in an unexplained plane crash, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Fernando Francisco Gomez Mont, a lawyer and former lawmaker, was sworn into the second-highest post in the Mexican government, where he is said to focus on strengthening laws to prevent drug money from entering next year's
parliamentary elections.

Mont is a member of Calderon's National Action Party, and has been an integral part of reforming Mexico's electoral laws and judicial systems.

According to the New York Times, the appointment has been received well by Calderon loyalists, but critics have cited Mont's inexperience and wonder if he is prepared to assist in the countries leadership.

Mont spoke to the media after his appointment and stated his intent to work with both sides, politically, for the betterment of Mexico.

Mont also addressed his defense of a number of controversial clients while he worked as a defense lawyer, stating that he acted professionally without the use of unacceptable tactics.,0,4994677.story

Mars lander out of commission

The Phoenix Mars lander, after ceasing to deliver reports for over a week, is presumed dead, according to the New York Times.

“At this time, we’re pretty convinced that the vehicle is no longer available for us to use,? said Barry Goldstein, the project manager. “We’re actually ceasing operations, declaring an end to mission operations at this point.?

The lander has fallen dead as the result of the coming Martian winter with it's increasingly lower temperatures and reduction of solar exposure, which powers the lander through exterior solar panerls.

Phoenix sent it's last message on Nov. 2nd it would seem, as NASA officials deemed it unlikely that any more transmissions would be recieved. Thus, culminating the $475 million, which is being declared a success, according to the Los Angeles Times.

"This is an Irish wake rather than a funeral," he said during a briefing with reporters at NASA headquarters in Washington.

The Phoenix lander, which first grounded on Mars' surface May 25th, has been collecting data with regards to the plausibility of Mars supporting simple organisms.

NASA will likely try to re-initiate the lander when the Martian winter subsides, with the hopes that the lander' can recharge it's batteries. However, the mission already went past it's expected timetable, so anything past the already collected data would be extraneous.

Bosnian man ordered extradited for murder

Zdravko Veletic, 56, a retired Lino Lakes construction worker, has been detained by U.S. authorities and will be extradited to Bosnia regarding a 16-year-old murder, according to the Star Tribune.

Veltic was captured at his home on Partridge Place on Oct. 31st., shocking the neighbors who knew him best.

"He's been nothing but kind," said the neighbor, who has lived next to Veletic for five years, according to the Pioneer Press.

Veltic, who appeared before U.S. magistrates, is wanted for a murder he committed 16 years ago. Veltic was involved in an altercation in June 1992 with a local, Veltic pulled a pistol and fatally shot the man after he had cursed his mother.

According to the Star Tribune, Veltic soon fled after the incident and was later convicted absentia in 1997.

In 2001, after settling in Minnesota, Veltic and his wife purchased their home in Lino Lakes. Veltic, who recently retired from construction due to a back injury, also had suffered the loss of his wife just last year to cancer.

Bosnia issued a warrant for Veltic's arrest in 2004. When the government discovered his residence in Minneosta, Bosnia officials requested Veltic's extradition.

November 9, 2008

St. Paul man convicted of sexual misconduct

Paul Hegerman, 54, couldn't do more than close his eyes and listen as jurors sealed his fate at 3:30pm Friday, the man often referred to as "Papa Gene", was found guilty of sexual misconduct involving a six-year-old girl.

According to the Star Tribune, jurors were faced with a he-said/she-said dilemma between the accused Hegerman and the victim, jurors sided with the girl finding Hegerman guilty of first-degree sexual assault.

Hegerman is being held in custody until his Dec. 19th sentencing, which calls for a minimum twelve-year sentence.

Hegerman, and his wife Linda, operated a day care center, which the victim attended with her brother since October 2005. The St-Paul day care center was located at the 1400 block of Iglehart Avenue, is where Hegerman allegedly molested the young victim in th home bathroom.

The victim testified to the assualts, citing that she was being actively abused since the age of four or five.

Hegerman, who defended himself, according to the Pioneer Press, was reportedly amazed by the accusations. Hegerman's wife, who also testified, claimed Hegerman was incapable of the accused assaults.

The day care center has been closed since December 2007, after the accusations first surfaced.

Boy, 8, fatally shoots two men, father

Arizona police, who charged an eight-year-old boy with two counts of premeditated murder Saturday, are looking at the possibility that the boy was abused, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

The boy, who shot and killed his father and another man with a .22 caliber rifle, will be psychologically reviewed this week and abuse will be taken into consideration.

"I'm not accusing anybody of anything at this point," he said Saturday. "But we're certainly going to look at the abuse part of this. He's 8 years old. He just doesn't decide one day that he's going to shoot his father and shoot his father's friend for no reason. Something led up to this."

The boy's father Vincent Romero, 29,and his friend, Timothy Romans, 39, both lived together with the juvenile and both worked for the same construction outfit, prior to being killed, according to the Washington Post.

Arizona law states that anyone older than eight-years-old can be charged as an adult, but police officials acknowledge that it is highly unlikely.

"We're going to use every avenue of the law that's available to us, but we're also looking at the human side," St. Johns Police Chief Roy Melnick said.

St. John's, which was shocked by the news, is a small suburb 168 miles northeast of Phoenix, with a population of 4,000.

Currently, the boy sits in custody and was visited by his biological mother who came in from Mississippi.

'He's scared,'' he said. ''He's trying to be tough, but he's scared.'',arizona-boy-kills-father-shoot110808.article

Rival Catholic sects brawl in holy site

Jerusalem police were forced to intervene during a ceremonial procession of rival catholic factions on Sunday, when fighting broke out in what is considered one of the holiest sites in Isreal, according to CNN.

Monks, of both Greek orthodoxy and Armenian denominations, were intersecting at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City, during a ceremony when a disagreement broke out and fighting ensued.

Greek members, insisting that one of their monks be present during the ceremony, were refuted by Armenian clear. It wasn't until Greek monks blockaded the Armeninan's march to an edifice, believed to be set atop Jesus' tomb, that fighting broke out.

"We were keeping resistance so that the procession could not pass through ... and establish a right that they don't have," said a young Greek Orthodox monk, according to USAToday.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said police were forced to intervene after fighting was reported. They arrested two monks, one from each side, he said.

Squabbling among monks, within the Church, is far from a rare occurence, according to Israeli police spokesman.

Disagreements over where to put a much needed fire exit and the exclusive property rights over a ladder that stands withing the church are just a few of the myriad issues.

November 3, 2008

St. Cloud student arrested for sexual assault

A St. Cloud State University student has been charged with a sexual assault of a 18-year-old woman outside Benton Hall early Sunday morning, according to the Star Tribune.

The assault, which occurred at 2:28am, on the 100 block of 4th street S., culminated with the detainment of the student by University security officers.

The St. Cloud Times identified the student as Franck Melaine Miessan, 23, who is a St. Cloud State student along with the victim.

However, no indication as to the relationship between the victim and her attacker has been determined.

Police are currently holding Miessan at the Stearns County Jail, awaiting court.

University spokesperson Marge Proell said a safety alert was not issued because Miessan was detained.

Proell added that the university had four sexual assaults between July 1st, 2007, to June 30th, 2008, but that she did not know of any more recent sexual assaults on campus.

Boy fatally shot while trick-or-treating

A twelve-year-old boy was shot and killed by an ex-convict firing an assault rifle from his residence Friday evening while trick-or-treating.

Quentin Patrick, 22, is accused of killing T.J. Darrisaw, 12, after the boy approached the home on Halloween. Darrisaw, accompanied by his father and brother, who were hospitalized but later released, suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the head, according to CNN.

Patrick was taken into custody, according to the New York Times, and charged with murder with three counts of assault and battery with the intent to kill. Another woman was taken into custody after police caught her fleeing the scene.

The woman was later identified as Erika Pee, 19, and was spending the evening with Patrick with her infant child.

The family was returning from a Halloween celebration in downtown Sumter, South Carolina when they traveled to Patrick's home, stating that the front porch light was on.

The children were dressed in Halloween masks as the father trailed the trick-or-treaters, while Darrisaw's mother was driving behind them.

Photos of North Korean leader surface amidst speculation of failing health

Government officials released new photos of Korean leader Kim Jong-Il on Sunday, according to CNN.

Recent speculation has been rampant with regards to Il's health. Rumors began surfacing after Kim Jong-Il was absent during national functions.

According to the International Herald Tribune, the North Korean media released the photos almost two months after the leader was believed to have suffered a stroke.

The photos were taken during a soccer match as Kim Jong-Il sat smiling wearing his trademark spectacles. The Korean government did not provide the locale or time of the photos.

Korean officials have stated that the speculation on Il's health is a Western motivated attack to discredit their leaders control over the communist nation.

The images were released on a Korean news broadcast. The narrator of that broadcast said the female soldiers' "hearts were pounding" because of Kim.

October 26, 2008

White Bear Lake mayor levied with 13 tax leins

White Bear Lake Mayor Paul Auger admitted to media on Thursday to significant tax delinquencies, according to the Pioneer Press.

Ramsey County records show that at one time Auger owed more than $230,000 in taxes to the IRS. Auger stated that although he isn't sure what the current total is, he assured that the amount was far less than the $230,000 figure.

State and Federal tax agencies have levied 13 liens against Auger's assets in an effort to rectify Auger's balance of debt, including Auger automotive.

"Apparently, I do a good job as mayor, because I've been re-elected, and I'm a fine mechanic, but I'm a lousy accountant," Auger said Thursday.

The White Bear Press reported that the issue, though likely resolved by the end of the year, was the result of Auger failing to pay the $35,000 capital gains tax from the sale of his grandparent's home.

Auger, who has been White Bear Lake's mayor since 1996, said that although he made some poor decisions, it will not affect his ability to lead as mayor.

Although, “It’s definitely added a few gray hairs,? he said.