Recently in National News Category

Census population estimates vary

by Shannon Lee
The U.S. population is somewhere between 306 million and 313 million, according to Monday's Census Bureau estimates. The exact number will depend on how demographers decide to count immigrants.
The official count will be released at the end of December and is expected to be about 308 million, according to the Washington Post.
When the official number is released, it will be used to reapportion seats in the House of Representatives. Depending on the official count, Texas and Florida could potentially gain seats, while Ohio and New York could each lose two seats, reported USA Today.
In 2000, the official population count was 281 million.
The recession and crackdowns on illegal immigration have made it more difficult to estimate the number of immigrants, particularly among the Hispanic population, reported USA Today.
Kenneth Johnson, demographer at the University or New Hampshire's Carsey Institute, told USA Today that Hispanics under 20 years old account for all increases in youth population since 2000. They have gained 5 to 8 percentage points and make up at least 22 percent of all people under the age of 20.

Hostages freed after High School gunman shot himself

by Shannon Lee
Twenty-three students and one teacher were released from Marinette High School in Wisconsin Monday evening when an armed student shot himself after holding them in a classroom for nearly five hours.
No hostages were hurt. The suspect was taken to the hospital and remained in unknown condition as of 9:45 p.m.
The gunman, 15, entered the classroom shortly after 3 p.m. Zach Campbell, one of the student hostages, told the New York Times the suspect shot at a movie projector, and other students tried to calm him down.
The school principal called police at 3:48 p.m., reported CNN, and law enforcement officers from all over the state gathered nearby.
The gunman refused to talk directly to police officers, and would only communicate to them through the teacher. He made no demands, reported the New York Times, and allowed five students to leave at 7:40 p.m. after they asked to use the bathroom.
At 8:03 p.m., police reported hearing three gunshots. They entered the classroom and the suspect shot himself.
The student had no criminal record prior to the event, reported CNN. Superintendent Tim Baneck told CNN the school would be closed Tuesday as school officials work to make counselors available for students.

New airport security scanners upset passengers and pilots

by Shannon Lee
New security scanners that use low doses of x-rays to scan passengers' bodies at airports have caused some to complain about invasion of privacy.
Passengers who opt out of the full-body scan must submit to a pat-down, which critics have called call overly invasive.
One California man made headlines after he missed his flight Saturday by threatening to have a San Diego airport agent arrested while the agent was patting him down, reported AOL News.
Many pilots are also unhappy with the new security scanners. Several have said they will boycott the scanners and pat-downs during the Thanksgiving travel rush, reported CBS News.
The Transportation Security Administration has insisted that the new security measures are crucial to ensure safety on flights, according to AOL News.
There are currently 385 scanners being used in U.S. airports. The government plans to have nearly 1,000 scanners in airports by the end of 2011.

Bush's memoir sold well opening day

by Shannon Lee
Former President George W. Bush's memoir was released Tuesday to record sales in recent years.
"Decision Points" sold at least 220,000 copies, the highest number for non-fiction opening-day sales since former President Bill Clinton's memoir was released in 2004, reported the Canadian Press.
Around 50,000 copies were sold via e-book purchases, reflecting the digital market's accelerated growth.
Interest in the memoir has been strong all over the country, but sales are especially high in Republican regions and in Washington, D.C., reported the Wall Street Journal.
Reviews have described the memoir as both "delightful" and "flat," but mixed reviews are typical for presidential memoirs, according to the Canadian Press.

Californians vote on marijuana proposal

by Shannon Lee
California voters had the chance to vote on Proposition 19 today, a measure to legalize small amounts of marijuana for personal use by people 21 or older. It would also allow the state to tax and regulate commercial production, distribution and sale, which advocates say would bring in millions of dollars in state revenue and slash the price of marijuana as much as 80 percent.
Surveys showed voters were split on the issue, with younger people more likely to be in favor of the proposal. A Field Poll released on Sunday showed support for Proposition 19 fell in October, reported Bloomberg.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said that even if the measure passes, the Justice Department will enforce the current law regarding marijuana sale and possession at the federal level, reported Bloomberg.
Advocates of Proposition 19 rallied for support in Oakland today near City Hall. Enthusiastic supporters said they were not worried about defeat because, whatever happens, the measure has sparked a debate that "would have been considered taboo" in the past, reported the Guardian

FBI investigates shootings in Virgina

by Shannon Lee
The FBI is investigating Virginia military shootings after the third shooting within a two-week period occurred Monday night or Tuesday morning when several shots were fired at a Marine Corps recruiting building in Chantilly, Va.
On Oct. 17, ten bullets were fired at the National Museum of Marine Corps. Two days later, a gunman fired shots at the Pentagon. No people were injured in any of the three shootings.
The FBI has determined the same gun was used in the first two shootings, and ballistic testing is in progress to discover if the same gun was used in the most recent shooting.
Officials told ABC News they are taking the incidents seriously, but the shooter does not appear to be targeting people.
Fairfax County Police spokeswoman Mary Ann Jennings told CNN authorities do not know yet if the incidents are related.

Judge refuses to reinstate "don't ask, don't tell"

by Shannon Lee
Judge Virginia Phelps denied the Pentagons request Tuesday to reinstate the "don't ask, don't tell" policy that bans openly gay people from serving in the US military.
Phelps ruled last Wednesday that the policy was unconstitutional, and her ruling will remain in effect while government lawyers prepare to appeal. If the appeal is granted, DADT would be reinstated.
Some gay rights groups plan to test the ruling by sending openly gay people to enlist in the military, the BBC reported.
Other gay activists warned actively serving troop members to remain silent about their sexual orientation until the legality is sorted out, according to ABC News.
Supporters for and against the policy are angry at the situation, ABC News reported. Critics believe it disrupts troops currently serving, and supporters worry that the unstable ruling is confusing to service members.

New policy bans illegal immigrants from Georgia schools

by Shannon Lee
Georgias top education officials voted Wednesday to ban illegal immigrants from attending five of Georgias public colleges.
The ban will go into effect in fall 2011, and is meant to prevent illegal immigrants from being admitted over legal residents to Georgias most selective public colleges, reported CNN.
Immigrant-rights groups protested the policy Wednesday, arguing that it hinders certain groups of people from educational opportunities, the New York Times reported.
The State Board of Regents spokesman John Millsaps told CNN that undocumented students will still be able to attend 30 other Georgia colleges if they pay out-of-state tuition and are not accepted before documented students.
Georgia is the second state, following South Carolina, to adopt a policy limiting illegal immigrants from higher-educational institutions.

Police search for "Honeybee Shooter"

by Shannon Lee
Law enforcement in Indiana and Illinois teamed up to search for a man who is suspected in a shooting spree that killed one and injured two.
The suspect is described as a heavyset white male in his 40s. He appeared disheveled and asked the victims questions about honeybees.
Officials determined that the same gun was used in the shootings, reported the Chicago Tribune.
Several police departments told the Post Tribune they have been flooded with hundreds of calls, mostly rumors, claiming to have information about the shooter.
"They're all urban legends," Hammond Police Chief Brian Miller told the Post Tribune.
Lake County, Ind. Sheriff Roy Dominguez told the Chicago Tribune the entire law enforcement community is working around the clock to catch the suspect.

Obama supports and extended school year

by Shannon Lee
Obama advocated Monday on the "Today Show" for lengthening the school year and increasing teacher accountability.
He told "Today Show" reporter Matt Lauer that American students have fallen well below other countries in math and science, and these nations keep their children in school for one month longer on average, according to Newsweek.
Obama said he wanted to work with teachers unions, and underperforming teachers should be fired, reported the Star Tribune.
One of the biggest challenges is funding, though Obama said that extending the school year would be "money well spent."
Obama also stated parents need to be involved in their childs education to help them stay focused on their studies, reported Newsweek.

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