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April 26, 2009

Woodbury Man Dies After Being Flooded Out Of Tunnel

After two men's curiousity took them into a tunnel for some photographs on Sunday south of the Marshall Avenue bridge in Saint Paul, a storm filled the enclosure with rainwater and forced them into the river, one of the men died, reported KSTP TV.

Ian Talty, 30, of Woodbury was pulled down the river while his friend, Nick Breid, 29, was able to pull himself ashore, according to Kare11.

Members of the Minneapolis Rowing Club heard the two mens' cries and called 911, according to Kare11.

A member of the rowing club, along with a Saint Paul Police officer, searched for Talty in a private boat; they found and pulled him to shore near Mississippi River Blvd. and Stanford Ave., where medics performed CPR then transported him to the Hennepin County Medical Center. He died later at HCMC, reported Kare11.

April 19, 2009

Iranian President Asks for Reconsideration In Espionage Case

Iranian-American Journalist Roxana Saberi's case has been urged to be treated fairly by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as President Barack Obama is working hard to ensure her freedom, reported ABC News.

Saberi's trial began in Iran's Revolutionary Court, where she was sentenced to eight years in prison for working illegally and spying for Washington, reported ABC News. She originally was arrested for buying wine, which is illegal in Iran, reported ABC News.

"She is an American citizen and I have complete confidence that she was not engaging in any sort of espionage," President Obama said as he asked for her release, reported ABC News.

The official IRNA news agency reported that President Ahmadinejad wrote a letter urging the prosecutor general in Tehran, Saeed Mortazavi, to examine the case fairly, according to The New York Times.

“He wants to present himself as a man eligible for international talks and also dialogue with the United States,” said one anaylyst to the New York Times, Alireza Rajaee.

Saberi, 31, currently resides at Evin prison in northern Tehran, according to the New York Times.

April 11, 2009

Pirates Recapture Captain After Failed Escape

The American ship captain being held hostage off the coast of Somalia by pirates jumped off the lifeboat only to be recaptured according to U.S. military officials, reported VOA News.

The U.S. ship, USS Bainbridge, which was doing the work tracking the lifeboat, said the captain jumped off the boat within view of the warship and pirates jumped into the sea as well to retrieve him, according to VOA News.

Capt. Richard Phillips has been held since Wed. by the pirates when they overtook his ship the Maersk Alabama, according to VOA News.

The 20-man crew on the Maersk Alabama were able to gain control of their ship from the hijackers but the pirates took Phillips with them on the lifeboat, reported VOA News.

“At the moment, we have no ability to protect the waters or defend against the pirates,” Abdi Haji Gobdoon, spokesman for the Somali government, told The Christian Science Monitor by telephone.

Somalia is struggling to deal with these problems because of their weak government with very little support, according to The Christian Science Monitor.

“Nothing will change until we see more stability on land,” Rashid Abdi Sheikh, Somalia analyst with the International Crisis Group in Nairobi, told The Christian Science Monitor.

April 5, 2009

Unemployment Rates Soar

Unemployment attained the highest rate in a quarter-century, reaching 8.5 percent last month, as employers fired 663,000 more workers, now making the nation's unemployed push past 13 million, reported The Associated Press.

The current rate is actually skewed because of those laid-off who have given up looking for work and settled for part-time jobs; if this were included the rate would be 15.6 percent, according to the Associated Press.

The unemployment rate is expected to reach 10 percent by the end of the year, as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says the recession could end around the same time, reported the Associated Press. The jobs won't begin to rise again till once the economy gains steam again, according to the Associated Press.

The employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the figures on Friday, and was only a little worse than expected, reported Fox Business.

Within the report were suggestions of more struggle (according to Fox Business):
-A drop in weekly hours
-Drop in average weekly earnings
-Increase in unemployed
-rise in the unemployment rate for college graduates

March 28, 2009

Discovery Lands

The shuttle Discovery returned to Earth on Saturday after completing a construction mission at the International Space Station, reported the Associated Press.

Discovery ended their 13 day mission Saturday which left the International Space Station with a fourth and final installation of solar arrays, a repaired water recycling system and a new crew member, reported the New York Times.

The newly installed solar arrays help to double the power for scientific research at the station, reported the New York Times.

Sandra Magnus returned to Earth after spending 134 days in orbit at the space station. Japanese astronaut, Koichi Wakata replaced Magnus at the Station, reported the New York Times.

The shuttle returned one orbit late due to high winds and low clouds but landed without any issue at the Kennedy Space Center at 3:13 p.m, reported the New York Times.

More guests arrived at the space station on Saturday via the Russian Soyuz capsule which held, along with astronauts, billionaire tourist Charles Simonyi, a former Microsoft executive, reported the Associated Press.

March 15, 2009

Discovery Launch

The U.S. Space Shuttle Discovery launched from the Kennedy Space Center Sunday heading for the International Space Station, reported VOA News.

Discovery launched into orbit Sunday and will arrive at the space station in approximatley two days, according to SatNews Daily.

The crew of seven will deliver a set of solar arrays and the main truss for the space station to help improve the capacity of the station, reported VOA News.

The launch was originally set for last week but a hydrogen leak delayed the mission.

Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata will be replacing Sandy Magnus at the station where he will stay for several months. Sandy will return to Earth with the Discovery in two weeks, according to VOA News.

March 8, 2009

Cow Dragging

A man faces five years in jail after punishing a runaway cow by dragging it behind his pick up in Freetown, reported The Boston Channel.

Outraged residents reported Joseph Pacheco and he faces a charge of animal cruelty.

“It was awful,” Bus driver Irene Briggs told the Boston Channel, who witnessed the Feb. 26 incident.

An animal control officer was called to the scene where the cow had been reported, but when they arrived Pacheco had already arrived and had harnessed the cow. The officer then left on an emergency call, reported the South Coast Today.

Pacheco claimed he chose to slaughter it which the owner is entitled too, but evidence shows the cow was dragged behind his truck. Plymouth county forensics experts examined the scene reported the South Coast Today.

The charges include a five year jail sentence and a $2,500 fine.

March 1, 2009

EU Emergency Economy Summit

The European Union held an emergency summit Sunday to help avoid national protectionalism and take a unified stance on the economic crisis, reported CNN.

Czech Prime Minister and President of the European Council Mirek Topolánek and President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso called the summit to address the individual plans of states and help create a plan to fight the crisis together, reported CNN.

In a statement released by the Czech EU Presidency's Web site the leaders said they wanted countries to "abide by the Community rules" and didn't want them to create new border lines and that "pursuing a beggar-thy-neighbor policy is unacceptable", reported CNN.

Germany, however, rejected the bailout plan proposed on Sunday saying that a single multibillion-euro bailout for Eastern Europe would be unwise, reported the Associated Press.

Saying that the situation is the same for all Central and Eastern European states, I don't see that," Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany said, adding "you cannot compare" the economic situation in Hungary with other countries, discouraging the EU leader's views for a unified recovery plan, reported the Associated Press.

February 22, 2009

Secretary Of State In China

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke to China Sunday, "We are truly going to rise and fall together", reported the Los Angeles Times.

Human rights took a back seat to Clintons appeal for China to continue buying U.S. Treasury bonds and defending Obama's stimulus plan, reported the Los Angeles Times.

Once considered a human rights hero for her confrontation in 1995 with China, she know faces scrutiny by human rights advocates, reported the Washington Post.

"I think that to worry about something which is so self-evident is an impediment to clear thinking," Clinton said, reported the Washinton Post.

David Shambaugh, director of Asian policy studies at George Washington University, told the Washington Post that sometimes the human rights issue is better to take on in a "non-confrontational way" and more so shown to be in China's best interest.

Clinton held a meeting on Sunday with 22 woman-rights advocates in China and expressed her support for human rights. The advocates felt China was making progress but the country still had their obstacles to overcome reported the Los Angeles Times.

February 15, 2009

$787 Billion Stimulus Bill Passed

The debated stimulus plan has been passed by both house and senate and is on its way to Obama's hands on Tuesday, reported Fox News.

Obama said in his weekly radio and internet address, "I will sign this legislation into law shortly, and we'll begin making the immediate investments necessary to put people back to work doing the work America needs done." (The Associated Press)

There is still opposition to the bill, "A stimulus bill that was supposed to be timely, targeted and temporary is none of the above," Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said in remarks on the Senate floor. "And this means Congress is about to approve a stimulus that's unlikely to have much stimulative effect" (The Associated Press).

Both parties struggled in the past few weeks in the house and senate to pass what they believed would help stimulate the economy.

Unemployment benefits, food stamps, medical care, job retraining and more were among the problems addressed with the billions of dollars in aid reported The Associated Press.

The bill is believed by Democrats to help 95 percent of Americans by giving $400 tax cuts to individuals and $800 to couples reported Fox News.

February 8, 2009

Cow Names

A more personalized touch to cattle farming proves to produce more milk in a study by Newcastle University in England, reported ScienceDaily on Wednesday.

Catherine Douglas and Peter Rowlinson of Newcastle University found in a scientific study that cows who are treated affectionatly can produce up 68 gallons more a year than one that is not reported the USA Today.

"Just as people respond better to the personal touch, cows also feel happier and more relaxed if they are given a bit more one-to-one attention," explained Dr. Douglas to Sciencedaily.

Dairy farmer Dennis Gibb, co-owner of Eachwick Red House Farm outside Newcastle said treating cows individually is "vitally important" (Sciencedaily).

Not only is milk production up but injuries are reduced in dairy farming if cows are treated with affection.

February 1, 2009

Bad Business

The major U.S. banks who were bailed-out tried to bring in 21,800 foreign workers in the past six years while Americans lost jobs, reports the Star Tribune.

The jobs the banks looked to fill with foreign employees were high paying positions such as senior vice presidents, corporate lawyers, junior investment analysts and human resources specialists. The average annual salary of a typical job like this is $90,721, almost twice that of the average American reports the Star Tribune.

With the economic downfall in the past years, these banks have looked even more to foreign employees, requesting 4,163 visas in 2008 for employees compared to 2007's 3,258, reports the Star Tribune.

The last three months of 2008 saw 100,000 lay-offs by the major banks that recieved taxpayer loans, reports the Star Tribune.

Foreigners are employed because companies can pay them the lower end of the jobs' pay scale, and take advantage of younger and possibly overqualified canidates.

President Obama and advisers are still working on plans with $350 billion bailout package approved by congress last year and are also currently working on attempting to create three million jobs that could cost well over 700 billion dollars, reports CNN.