March 2011 Archives

High Radiation Levels found in Japan's seawater

Tests have found high amounts of radioactive content more than a mile away from the destructive Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant.
Tests run found high levels of chemicals like Iodine 131 at levels from 1000 to 2000 times the legal limit, and has been found in soil, plants, and water tests performed to test the area for radioactivity, according to the New York Times.
The high amount of radioactivity in the environment and the continued lack of control over the plant has led the Japanese government to evacuate citizens up to 18 miles away from the plant, according to the New York Times.
Iodine 131, the main chemical found, can cause multiple forms of cancer and is very dangerous, but has a half life of days, meaning that with a simple fishing ban and evacuations, the Iodine will disappear, according to the LA Times.
Tokyo Electric Power Company is now acknowledging that they will need to scrap the plant, from the high amount of damage done to it from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, according to the LA Times.
The situation in Japan continues to be uncertain, and Japanese officials fear the situation with the nuclear plant could continue for months, according to the LA Times.

Analysis: Obituary for Elizabeth Taylor

I looked at the obituary in the New York Times that was written about the death of noted actress Elizabeth Taylor, who died of congestive heart failure on Wednesday, March 23rd.
The obituary has many different sources, many of which come from her former directors and from her family of multiple husbands and children. A few different celebrities are also quoted in the obituary, but most sources are those from MGM, co-stars and directors of the films Elizabeth was in.
The lead used for Taylor's obituary was a standard lead from the New York Times, which definitely works because it is so simple and clear, but because she lived such a life in the public eye, needed a lot of explanation on the New York Times part of all that she had done in her life.
It is different than a resume from the personal feel you get from the obituary, because while it discusses clearly all the awards she won or was nominated for and all of the different actors she'd gotten to work with, as well as the films she'd been in, its very easy to find the human tone. They use anecdotes of Taylor, like her laughing at Mickey Rooney when he was trying to give her advice on how to cry, or making fun of herself for getting married so often.
They have multiple quotes for Taylor's obituary from costars, directors, and family of Taylor, and that as well helps it read with a more personal tone. While it spends much of the time chronicling her contributions to the movie industry, you finish it with a sense of Taylor.

Germany's beloved polar bear dies at age 4

Knut, Berlin's famous polar bear, is mourned at his zoo with flowers and grievers, after dying unexpectedly on Saturday. He was 4.
Knut became famous when his twin brother died after birth and his mother abandoned him, according to the New York Times.
A devoted zoo care-giver camped outside the zoo in Berlin to give the button-eyed cub his bottle every two hours, according to the New York Times.
While a necropsy will be performed to determine the cause of the polar bear's sudden death, according to the LA Times.
To those who met Knut were charmed, and Knut had fans around the world. Knut's caregivers were comforted by the amount of mourners, knowing he was a special bear, according to the LA Times.
A memorial fund has been opened in honor of the memory of Knut, which will be devoted to funding the preservation of polar bear habitats.

Day-care Owner who fled after fire is brought back

A Day-care owner in Houston who fled to Nigeria after four children died in a fire was flown back to the United States Sunday, to face charges.
Jessica Tata, 22, fled Houston 2 days after the blaze at Jackie's Child Care. The cause of the fire is believed to have been a pot left unattended on the stove while Tata went shopping, according to the New York Times.
Tata is charged with 14 different counts that include manslaughter, injury to a child, and child abandonment, according to the LA Times.
Four different children died and three were wounded in the fire when Tata left the children unattended to shop at Target, which authorities proved with camera surveillance and a store receipt, according to the New York Times.
After being placed on the list of 15-most wanted fugitives, Tata was brought back from Nigeria to face the charges, according to the New York Times.

Mississippi River gets prepared for Flooding

The Mississippi River is expected to hit the flood stage of 14 feet soon, as it is predicted to hit over 15 feet by next Friday, and with Tuesday's possible rain, that number could rise even higher.
The river is currently at 5.84 feet Monday morning, but is expected to rise 10 feet in the next week, according to the Star Tribune.
Weather experts are unsure of when the river will crest, but if it reaches 17.5 feet, Harriet Island will be completely submerged and more roads will be forced to close, according to the Star Tribune.
The state department of transportation has already begun closing different roads to prepare for the flooding, and those found violating the closures face fines of up to $1000 and up to 90 days in jail, and that is if they do not become stuck or in danger, according to the Pioneer Press.
Last year, the Mississippi River crested 18.38 feet in Saint Paul, but experts believe there to be a 50 percent chance that the river could beat the 1965 record of 26.4 feet this spring, according to the Star Tribune.

Pawlenty forms committee to explore running for President

Minnesota's former Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced Monday that he intends to form an exploratory committee for President, the first step in announcing his candidacy.
The Republican former Gov. has filed the paperwork for this committee, but has not formally declared his intent to run against President Obama, according to the Star Tribune.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is the only other Republican to announce his intent to run for president, although nearly a dozen other republicans have acknowledged their interest in Republican candidacy, according to the Pioneer Press.
Pawlenty has repeatedly visited primary and caucus states in order to create support in attempts to create more of a national profile for himself, according to the Star Tribune.
Despite being on a short list for vice-Presidency to John McCain, Pawlenty is not as nationally known as other potential candidates for the Republican bid, like Gingrich or Mitt Romney, according to the Pioneer Press.

Quaddafi holds on while UN attacks increase

The second night passes of Western attack by air and sea of Quaddafi's forces and enforcing the no-fly zone, while rejecting claims that civilians have been killed.
With Quaddafi's defenses being blasted to pieces in Tripoli and in Ajdabiya, loyalist forces continue to rally support for Libya's leader in the third day of the attacks, according to the New York Times.
Loyalists and state-television emphasize the mounting civilian deaths, but refuse to prove it to journalists. After inviting journalists to the civilian funerals, the should-be mourning scene became a raucous rally for Quaddafi, according to the LA Times.
Russia and China have declared their disdain for the western involvement in Libya, which is being led by France, the US, and the UK, according to the New York Times.
Vladimir Putin, Russia's Prime Minister has criticized allies for their "indiscriminate use of force". Quatar, meanwhile, becomes the first Arab nation to sign on to the effort in Libya, though Qatar's role has yet to be determined, according to the New York Times.
With the price tag of the UN's police effort rising, Obama's administration is already taking hard criticism for the military efforts, despite the rising need for humanitarian involvement in Libya, according to the LA Times.

Eighth Grader Aces Spelling Bee for the third time

An Edina eighth-grader won the regional spelling bee for her third year straight, and is headed for the Scripps National Spelling Bee once again
Anja Beth Swoap,14, will once again represent Minnesota in the Nationals, where last year she came in 20th place, according to the Star Tribune.
Swoap won her third victory this year after six hours and with her correct spelling of "triforium", according to the LA Times.
A Minneapolis law firm will help to send young Swoap to Washington for the bee this year where she will again compete for the title, according to the Star Tribune.

Wisconsin's democrats are back

The 14 senators of Wisconsin came back to the capitol in Wisconsin after their standoff in Illinois over collective bargaining rights for unions.
The 14 senators got a hero's welcome when they got back to the capitol, with people chanting their name, greeting them by name, and carrying signs supporting the 14 who supported them, according to the New York Times.
Madison police estimated the protesters to be around 100,000 at the capitol, the largest rally since the debate started, which have continued to be peaceful, according to the LA Times.
The democrats who had been hiding out in Illinois since February 17th were greeted positively by the people, but were scorned by their fellow senators, according to the LA Times.
Scott Fitzgerald, Wisc. state Senate Republican leader blasted the 14, saying they were "the most shameful 14 people in the state of Wisconsin."
The bill over collective bargaining rights was voted into law without the missing senators last week and was approved by Gov. Scott Walker, according to the New York Times.

Japan's problems worsen

With tsunami survivors in need of serious medical care and increasing damage from the nuclear power plants' meltdowns, the situation in Japan is likely to worsen before the world can get a grasp of the disasters.
Japanese hospitals are only beginning to be flooded with survivors of the tsunamis, as the island nations were in the 2004 tsunami, from head trauma, dangerous and infected cuts, and crushed limbs, according to the LA Times.
Radioactive releases of steam could go on for months from the two crippled plants in Japan, with the possibility of more plants collapsing from the earthquake's aftershocks, still reaching over 6.0, according to the New York Times.
Radiation poisoning is not widespread at this point, but air samples of the different chemicals are still being analyzed, but may indicate widespread environmental damage from the radioactive chemicals, according to the New York Times.
With electrical power down since the earthquake and tsunami struck, the plants are forced to vent the radioactive air into the atmosphere in efforts to cool the remaining plants down, a process which could leave effects for more than a year, according to the New York Times.
The hits continue coming at Japan, with no estimation on the extent of the damage yet, just more disasters.

Death Toll in Japan Rises

Japan's death toll continues to climb into the ten-thousands with millions of people displaced after the devastating earthquake, tsunami, and partial meltdowns that have occurred across Japan.
Many survivors have been rescued, but entire villages have disappeared from the muddy waters of the tsunami, according to the New York Times.
Radiation levels are again over their legal limits after two partial meltdowns at nuclear power plants, as they could not be shut down fast enough after the quakes to prevent the effects, according to the LA Times.
Countries have been sending over as much aid as possible from Germany to the United States, even New Zealand despite their recent earthquake, according to the New York Times.
The death toll continues to worsen as they contact more villages and survivors, with about 5,000 houses swept away in the tsunami in Rikuzentakata, and over 7,000 houses fully submerged in Yamada, according to the New York Times.
The magnitude of Japan's quake has been estimated at 9.0 on the Richter scale, Japan's largest on record.
The full extent of these disasters is still not fully known.

Two University of Minnesota Professors were charged Wednesday with collecting checks simultaneously from the University of Minnesota and Georgia Tech.
The married pair Francois Sainfort and Julie Jacko are each facing over 100 years in prison and thick fines if the felony charges stick, according to the Star Tribune.
Both Jacko and Sainfort were questioned in 2008 when asked why they received paychecks from both institutions, and nearly three years later, the 27 page indictment continues the questioning, according to the Star Tribune.
Jacko and Sainfort's lawyer maintains that the two are innocent and that "there was not a dual employment situation", according to the Star Tribune.
After a number of irregularities the two resigned from Georgia Tech in 2008, according to the Pioneer Press.

Wisconsin Situation Worsens, Layoffs and Arrests Issued

Wisconsin's senate voted today to order the missing 14 democratic senators back to the Capitol by Thursday or face being taken into custody by police, while governor Scott Walker announced he would issue the layoffs for 1500 state workers if his bill had not passed by then.
Walker said that he would not compromise with the senators on either the elimination of collective bargaining rights in the bill or on anything that saves the state money, according to an interview with the Associated Press.
If the 14 democratic senators, who have been taking refuge in Illinois, do not return by 4:30 p.m. Thursday and are in Wisconsin, then the State Sargent at Arms can force the senators to the Senate Chamber for being "in contempt and disorderly behavior", according to the Star Tribune.
Walker's layoffs are dependent on the bill not being passed, but if the bill does pass, state workers would be forced to pay $330 million over the next two years for their benefits, while forcing them to give up collective bargaining rights and eliminating over $1 billion in aid to schools, according to the Pioneer Press.
Many do not believe that the senators have intentions of returning today, but Governor Walker is still "cautiously optimistic" that they can get this done, according to the Star Tribune.

Minnesota Senate rejects Dayton's income tax proposal

Minnesota's senate voted overwhelmingly to oppose Governor Dayton's proposal to tax the wealthy more, which would help to fill the $5 billion budget shortfall.
Even though the Republican members unanimously oppose it, they brought it to the floor for a vote today, immediately voting against it, according to the Pioneer Press.
Republican senators believe that debates should instead be opened on whether to open up a fourth income tax bracket for the wealthier instead, according to the Star Tribune.
Arguing that higher income taxes are terrible for Minnesota businesses was one of the Republican senators' main reasons for voting against the income tax hike for the wealthy, according to the Pioneer Press.
Dayton called the Republicans' maneuver "juvenile political theater" while Democrats argue that the vote was set too early and before the debate could be opened and discussed properly, according to the Star Tribune.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that the first amendment protects hateful protests at military funerals, even when the message is deeply offensive.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote that although speech causes pain, we cannot react to that pain by punishing the speaker, even on hurtful speech.
The case arose when the Westboro Church protested an unrelated military funeral for fallen marine Matthew Snyder with signs of "Thank God for Dead Soldiers" and "God Hates Fags". Albert Snyder, the marine's father, sued the Westboro Church for, among other things, emotional distress, according to the New York Times.
The 8-1 decision of the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Westboro Church on three grounds; that they protested in a public street (1000 feet away from the funeral), that they protested on matters of public concern, and that it was not a private grudge between the Snyders and the church, according to the LA Times.
Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. was the only justice who voted for the Snyders, arguing that this was a malevolent personal attack at a time of deep anguish, and that our national commitment to free and open debate is not a license for the vicious verbal assault that occurred in this case.

70-year-old man shoots himself outside police station

Man shoots himself in the chest outside of St. Anthony Police Department parking lot, unnoticed until a mother happens to notice him on the ground.
Robert Hockert, 70, had come alone to the police department where he attempted suicide by shooting himself point-blank in the chest, but survived the wound, according to the Pioneer Press.
Hockert had a history of extreme financial difficulties and depression, but the attempted suicide still came as a shock to Hockert's family, according to the Star Tribune.
The mother who found him was dropping off her daughter when she saw Hockert on the ground, but could not see the gun or blood. Once she saw the bullet wound, she called the police, who had not heard the shot, according to the Pioneer Press.

Libya comes closer to revolution

Government forces attack a major oil facility in eastern Libya that rebels were guarding, while Colonel Qaddafi continues to deny that the uprising started with demonstrations.
The attack on Port Brega, 100 miles south of rebel stronghold Benghazi, by the loyalist Libyan forces is the first attack by the government since Benghazi fell ten days ago, according to the New York Times.
Rebel forces claim they have control of Port Brega, while state-run television is maintaining they successfully seized the Sirte Oil Co. in Port Brega. Neither claim can be confirmed, though Ahmed Jerksi, Sirte Oil manager told the Associated Press that Qaddafi's forces once again held control over the port.
Qaddafi persists that it is not demonstrations that started this uprising, but blames Islamist groups as well as Al-Qaeda for the uprising, according to the LA Times. Qaddafi denounced the rebels as terrorists and vowed to fight them to the end for Libya, according to the LA Times.
One thing both sides can agree on is that they want no outside intervention from the US, NATO, the UN, or anyone else, according to the LA Times. They want to do this on their own.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from March 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

February 2011 is the previous archive.

April 2011 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.


Powered by Movable Type 4.31-en