Main | March 2008 »

February 29, 2008

University gives permission for students to go to Sudan

University of Minnesota grad student is going back to his home country in Sudan to help rescue his abducted nieces with the permission of the university, reports The Pioneer Press.


The University has granted special permission for Gabriel ‘Kou’ Solomon and two other university students’ to travel to Sudan with university financial and logistical support. Sudan remains in the travel warning list issues by the U.S. State Department, but with the universities permission is has opened door for former “lost boy? and his friends to break through the first obstacle in retrieving his nieces.


Last October, Yar, then 3, and Ajak, then 18 months were abducted by an armed cattle nomad group Murle who have been abducting girls as a response of low fertility rate among the Murle women. The abducted girls are raised until they are old enough to become the spouse of one of the young Murle boys.


Solomon who too was kidnapped as a child along with hundreds of other children and taken to Ethiopia to become a child soldier flee to Kenya with three other brothers and after a long journey was granted refugee status in the U.S.


Solomon will now return to Sudan where he will spend the Summer, his friends and university students, Robyn Skrebes and Kait Dougherty will accompany him to Juba the regional capital of southern Sudan where they will remain for ten days before Solomon continues his quest.


Students in Solomon’s human-rights-advocacy class built a website that talks about abducted children in Sudan and tells the story of Ajak and Yar.

The beginning of a new Kenya, leaders sign an agreement

Kenyas leaders signed an agreement to end the bloodshed and divide the government's roles to satisfy both parties, reported CNN.com.


The agreement calls on parliament for a constitutional change, where a prime minister role will be taken by Raila Odinga and the president role will still be assumed by President Mwai Kibaki, the cabinet and the parliment will also be divided to represent both parties.


The agreement includes parliment to change the countries constitution; according to The National Accord and Reconciliation Act 2008 the new constitution will establish the president, vice president, prime minister and other ministers for the governments cabinet.


U.N.'s former Secretary-general and chief mediator, Kofi Annan said, "Let the spirit of healing start today. Let it start now. Compromise was necessary for the health of this country."


The agreement was signed after augmented pressure from both national and international institutions.


The talks were stuck at various points, and even though there has been a signed agreement, this is the "beginning of a long and difficult political relationship," reports NYT.com


One of the biggest underlying questions is how will the country run with the bosses that have been in bitter dispute just months ago. More than 1,000 people have been killed and tens of thousand driven from their homes.


In Kenya, both "fighting and voting," are along the lines of ethnicity. "We should begin to ensure the Kenyans begin to celebrate and love each other and that we destry the monster that is called ethnicity," said President Kibaki.

February 27, 2008

Man sentenced to life without parole for poisoning his wife

Man accused of poising his wife and suffocating her has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole, reported CNN.com.


Mark Jensen, 48, was found guilty on Thursday for the murder of his wife Julie Jensen in 1998.


"Your crime is so enormous, so monstrous, so unspeakably cruel that it overcome all other consideration," said Konosha County Judge Bruce Schroeder before pronouncing the parole sentence.


Prosecutor contended that Jensen poisoned his 40-year-old wife with antifreeze and then suffocated her.


A witness testified that Jensen was getting impatient when the poison wasn't working and suffocated her instead, reported Pioneer Press.


According to CNN.com, the defense argued that Julie Jensen was a depressed woman who killed herself and framed her husband.


Jensen was having an affair to the woman that he is now married to, reported Pioneer Press.


A letter written by Julie Jensen and given to her neighbor about her suspicion that her husband was plotting to kill her.


Julie had made comments to the Police and her sons teacher about her husband trying to kill her.


In the letter written by Julie read in court said, "I pray I'm wrong + nothing happens... but I am suspicious of Mark's suspicious behaviors + fear for my early demise."


The juror said that the letter gave them a "clear road map" in the convection of Mark Jensen.


The couples sons also wrote a letter that was read before the sentencing of Jensen, in it they plead that their father has parole and describe him as a loving father who held them at their mother's death and supported the family.


February 25, 2008

A night in the Oscars

The Coen brothers' take the Oscar home for best picture for "No Country for Old Men," reports CNN.com The story of the brutal tale of a man pursued by death and the law across Texas won at the 80th Academy Awards hosted by Jon Stewart.


The Coen brothers also took home best adapted screenplay, and Javier Bardem, who played the killer Anton Chirgurh won best supporting actor.


Dan Day-Lewis won best actor in the movie, "There Will Be Blood." French actress Marion Cotillard won her first Academ Award for the movie, La vie en Rose" portraying the singer Edith Piaf. She was speechless but managed to thank life and love for her award.


February 22, 2008

Man without driver's license for 13 years is arrested for hit-and-run

A driver under arrest in Wednewsday hit-and-run that killed pedestrian in St. Paul
hasn't had valid driver's license since 1995, reports The Pioneer Press.


Terrance Leonard Oliver, 45, has been caught without a license at least a dozen times since 1995, according to state driving records.


The woman that was killed in the hit-and-run was identified as Margret "Peggy" Prowse, 59, said police.


Her family released a statement, "She was a very kind-hearted, generous person."


Prowse and Oliver lived about a block apart from each other.


Oliver hit Prowse as she was crossing University Avenue, east of Fairview Avenue at 7:40 a.m. Wednesday, said police.


Oliver then fled the scene, but tips from the public led to his arrest.

Woman is charged in bush crash, her real identity is not known

The van driver involved in school bus crash in Cottonwood that killed four students was charged on Friday, reported the Star Tribune.


She is believed to be in the United States illegaly using an alias under the name Alianiss Nunez Morales. The woman has been charged with four counts of criminal-vehucular homicide, running a stop sign and driving without a license at the time of the crash on Tuesday.


It was confirmed on Friday By Lyon County Attorney Richard Maes that woman ran over a stop sign.


The driver appeared in court Friday morning in wheelchair and in what appeared to be a cast. She
told the court that her name was Alianiss Morales and that she had been working at Cottonwood cabinet shop for a month. She had been living with her boyfriend in a trailer but they broke up on the day of the accident


The woman is being held without bail. Her next court appearance is set for April 21.


According to the complaint, the van driver told police in the hospital that the bus hit her. She also said that she had never been in that intersection before. When asked for her address she did not remember it, but told police that she lived in a trailer with her boyfriend. She also told police that she did not have a driver's license.


Agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcemnt believe that the driver is in the country illegally and that the name she gives authority is not her real name, said ICE spokesman Claud Arnold reports The Pioneer Press.


Prosecutors have asked that the woman be held without a bail because she is in "an extreme flight risk". Prosecturos also found relatives belonging to the real Alianiss in Puerto Rico and when they showed the picture of the driver to Morales grandparents they did not recognize the woman in the pictures, reports Pioneer Press.


Lakeview School, where the students attended, will be closed on Monday for the funeral of the brothers Jesse Javens, 13, and Hunter Javens, 9, both of Cottonwood. Also killed in the accident were Reed Stevens, 12, of Marshall; and Emilee Olson, 9, of Cottonwood.

February 19, 2008

Castro resigns as president of Cuba

Castro reigned on Tuesday as president of Cuba after half-century of "iron fisted rule," reported CNN.com.


He revealed his resignation in an online Cuban state run newspaper, Granma. "I will not aspire to, nor will I accept the position of president of the council of state and commander in chief," Castro wrote. "I wish only to fight as soldier of ideas... Perhaps my voice will be heard."


Castro, 81, hasn't been seen in public since his operation in July 2006, reports BBC News. His brother Raúl Castro, 76, has been leading Cuba and is seen as the prospect president in the upcoming elections on Sunday.


US state department said the embargo on Cuba will remain in place.


"The international community should work with the Cuban people to begin to build institutions that are necessary for democracy and eventually this transition out to lead to free and fair elections," said president Bush Tuesday in Rwanda. "The United States will help the people of Cuba realize the blessing of liberty." (CNN)


According to BBC News, the European Union hoped to revive ties with Cuba.


China described Castro as an old friend and they will continue their co-operation with Havana. Beijing is one of Havana's key economic partner, said BBC's Nick Miles.

Spielberg withdraws from Olympics

U.S. director Steven Spielberg has withdrawn as an artistic adviser for the opening and closing ceremony of the Olympics reported CNN.com.


He said that China is not doing enough to help with the situation in Sudan.


"Sudan's government bears the bulk of the responsibility for these ongoing crimes but the international community, and particularly China, should be doing more," Spielberg said in a statement. "China's economic, military and diplomatic ties to the government of Sudan continue to provide it with the opportunity and obligation to press for change."


China buys two-thirds of Sudan's oil exports. In return, China sells weapons to Sudanese government. China also defened Khartoum in U.N. Security council, reported CNN.com


"How can Beijing host Olympic Games at home and underwrite genocide?" asked actress and U.N. goodwill ambassador Mia Farrow.


More than 200,000 people have died in Sudan and over 2.5 million people have been displaced since 2003.


China has an enormous potential to help bring an end to conflict in Darfur, stated a letter signed by Nobel Peace Prize laureates, celebrities and 13 former Olympians.


The theme for this summers Olympics in Beijing is "One Worlds, One dream".


"At this point, my time and energy must be spent not on Olympic ceremonies, but on doing all I can to help bring an end to the unspeakable crimes against humanity that continue to be committed in Darfur." said Spielberg in a statement.

February 16, 2008

Hezbollah leader and one of most wanted terrorist killed

One of the top leaders of the Hezbollah lebanese group, Imad Mughniyeh was killed in a car bombing in Damascus Wednesday night reported BBC News.


According to BBC, Mughneiyeh was the special operations or intelligence chief of Hezbollah's secretive military wing, the Islamic Resistance. He was one of the top most wanted in both the United States and Israel.


Hezbollah has blamed Israel for the killing, but the Israeli prime minister's office issued a statement "rejecting 'the attempt by terror groups to attribute to it any involvement' in the killing", reports BBC News.

"After a life full of jihad, sacrifices and accomplishments... he died a martyr at the hands of the Israeli Zionists," said a Hezbollah statement. Iran also condemned Israel for the killing and considers Mughniyeh as a martyr said BBC News.


He was held accountable for high profile attacks in the 1980's, such as the suicide bombing in 1983 in Beirut that killed hundreds of US and French military personnel, Israel believes that he was involved in the bombing of their embassy in Argentina in 1992 killing 29 people as well as the explosion of the Jewish centre in Buenos Aires that killed 95 people in 1994.


According to CNN.com, U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack called Mughniyeh "a cold-blooded killer, a mass murdered and a terrorist who was responsible for [ending] countless lives."


He went on to say that "the world is a better place," without Mughniyeh.


February 11, 2008

Analysis - Attribution

After analyzing an article posted on CNN.com about Hillary replacing her campaign manager, the following could be observed about attribution.

Most of the sources were people close to Hillary. Some of the information came from the campaign site. Her adviser was quoted along with two unknown sources which were said to be close to the candidate.

The attributions and the sources are scattered around the article. There are three quotes, all coming from different sources. and the last one being Clinton herself.

I think that most of the attribution and quotes are effective, they do as we have learned in class add a voice to the story. Make you feel more personal and close. But at the same time, it does get confusing to see who said what and how exactly they are related to the story. Especially when the sources are said that they are close to the candidate but nothing else is said about it.

610-year-old South Korean landmark burnt to ashes

A 610-year-old national landmark treasure was burnt to the ground this Sunday, reports CNN.com.


It is unclear what the cause of the fire was, but there is suspension from an official who believes that it could be arson. Even though the head of police of one of the police stations Kim Young-soo said that it was too early to conclude the cause.


There were 360 firefighters who tried to control the fire said official with the National Emergency Management Agency Lee Sang-joon.


There were no injuries. But President Lee Myung-bak after visiting the destruction of Namdaemun said that the "People's heart will ache."


The gates of this landmark were open to public in 2006 for the first time in nearly a century.

Witness led to the arrest of a woman involved in death of 4-year-old boy

A 4-year-old boy was found badly beaten after his disappearance on Wednesday. The woman who called the police about the boys disappearance was arrested Sunday morning after the child's body was found near her residence reports The Star Tribune.


Demond Reed was found already dead when police arrived at the woman's apartment. His body was so badly beaten that police were unable to identify his body and police requested dental records to help identify the body.

Police said that what led to her arrest was "a statement from a witness that she hit the child several times, the child became ill and subsequently died."


Police will investigate further and are treating the death of Reed as a homicide. An autopsy will determine the cause of death which will be done today.

Escape tunnel found in Stillwater prison

An escape tunnel was found by one of the supervisors in the basement storage at the Stillwater prison on Wednesday, reports The Pioneer Press.


It is the first escape tunnel ever found in Minnesota. There was however no risk of escapes and all the inmates were accounted for said prison officials.


It is uncertain who was involved in it and exactly where it would lead to. Information will not be disclosed during the investigation. "Deputy Corrections Commissioners Dennis Benson called it 'a pretty sophiscated operation,''" reports the Pioneer Press.


The area where the tunnel was found is an industrial area where twine, desks and farm materials are made. The exact room where it was found is a storage room for materials. It was well hidden and it seems like someone might have tipped them off about the location of the tunnel. Only four inmates work in that area and they are supervised at all times. So it unclear how this operation could have been done.


The exact details of the tunnel were not disclosed but Benson said that it was "about 50 or 60 feet from the building to the prison wall."


Even though it is common to see escape tunnels in movie, they are not a very common way for inmates in real life to actually escape.


Microsoft Too Cheap for Yahoo

Yahoo is expected to reject Microsoft's bid of $44.6 billion this upcoming Monday. A bid considered too low for Yahoo reports The New York Times.


Microsoft will continue to pursuit by a "behind the scene" campaign directed at Yahoo's largest stockholders. Microsoft is trying to put more pressure on the board by going directly to the shareholders.


If Microsoft's get enough shareholders to accept their offer by March 13 they will be able to nominate a new slate of Yahoo board of directors. Yahoo is one of few companies that has no protection to prevent an overthrow of board.


"They don't have a lot of choices and a lot of defenses," said Scott C. Dettmer, veteran adviser to technology companies in Silicon Valley.

To insure the companies independence, they may strike an advertisement partnerships with Google.


Yahoo News reports that Yahoo's rejection to Microsoft's bid is a "clear signal [that] the board might be prepared to negotiate and sell the internet media giant." (news.yahoo.com)


An unnamed source attributed by the Wall Street Journal said that Microsoft's offer of $31 per share was an attempt to "steal" the company. (Yahoo.com)


Citigroup analysts came up with possible scenarios for Yahoo. Microsoft might come up with a higher bid, a different bidder, a partnership with Google or the deal will not go through. The most likely scenario stated by the Citigroup analysts is that Microsoft will bid at $40 per stock, an equivalent of $51.1 billion.

February 10, 2008

Will peace talks and a potential shared government work?

Peace talks and conversation of leaders sharing power has been the talk this last week in Nairobi, Kenya.


Over 1,000 people died since the elections held in December 27, and more than 300,000 have fled the country.


According to BBC.com, at the second face-to-face meeting since the elections, President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga are making agreements that could be reached by next week, said ex UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.


"There has been an agreement in principle," said President Kibaki. The opposition spoke of a "positive development."


Even though the violence has improved, there is still tension and hesitation as for what will happen next.


A government negotiator, Mutula Kilonzo said to Reuters news agency, "We cannot afford our people using bows and arrows, people being pulled out of buses to be asked 'which language do you speak?' and then being chopped."


The election held in December are being critiqued as flawed, reports CNN.com.


Unlike BBC News which says that negotiations are still underway. CNN reports that they have agreed to form a power sharing government.


They are now in the process of discussing who would lead the government and what each party would be responsible for and the role that they would play, said the lawmaker for the Orange Democratic Movement, William Ruto.


"We are finally agreed that there is a problem in the country and neither side can proceed on its own," Ruto said. "We have agreed to form a joint government. Details of that government, it's time and how to share it are under discussion."


There has been speculation that politicians and businessmen of Kenya are the once financing and banking the violence.


As reported in CNN, Washington has sent ten letters to politicians and businessmen that may be involved in "supporting or inciting violence." said U.S. Ambassador Michael Ranneberger.


There is substantial evidence observed by Kenyan human rights group, foreign observers and diplomats that both parties have been triggering the attacks.

February 4, 2008

Leads

The Lead: "More than 70 people have been killed by two bombs in Baghdad, attached to two mentally disabled women and detonated remotely, says a security offical."

It is easy to point out the important information in this lead.

In order of importance, we find out that 70 people have been killed (who), by a bomb (what) in Baghdad (where). It was attached to two mentally disable women and detontated remotely (how).

All the information in this lead helps set up all the events that have occurred that day in Baghdad.

Float depicting Holocaust victims removed from Brazilian Carnival

In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil a samba group has been ordered to remove one of its float depicting naked bodies of Holocaust victims reports MSNBC.

Judge Juliana Kalichszteim has ordered the float removed from the Carnival parade next week after a lawsuit was filed by the Jewish Federation of Rio de Janeiro.

The samba group, Viradouro, said it has removed the mannequins, which represented victims of the Holocaust.

“It’s inadmissible that they could have a parade float depicting dead Jews and a live Hitler on top of them,? said federation spokesman Jose Roitberg.

Viradouro still plans on using at least one dancer dressed at Hitler and says that the theme of the float is “to give you goose bumps.?

If the order is ignored, Viradouro will be penalized with a fine of $113,000, and for every dancer dressed as Hitler it will have to pay a fine of $28,000.

Carnival in Brazil begins this upcoming Monday.

February 3, 2008

Baby Orangutan needs a name

On Dec. 13 an orangutan named Markisa gave birth to a baby orangutan born from a Caesarean section at the University Veterinary Medical Center reports The Minnesota Daily.

This is considered a rare procedure and only nine orangutan have been ever born from a Caesarean from 1,658 born in captivity said Megan Elder, primate zookeeper and lead orangutan trainer at Como Zoo.

This is the first orangutan born at the Como Zoo since 1999. Markisa was pregnant but gave birth to a stillborn in 2005.

It was a complicated procedure and at a certain point the baby orangutan stopped breathing but was revived. It was placed in the medical center intensive care where staff wore orangutan suits and held the baby for 24 hours a day.

On Christmas day it was finally reunited with its mother.

Now Como Zoo wants the public to help vote for a name for the baby orangutan.

The votes take part in money donations and there are three Indonesian names to choose from.
Jaya, which means celebration or victorious
Pandu, which means leader or scout
Bejo, which means luck
The voting is open until Feb. 13.

Click here to vote on the baby orangutan's name.

Campus Connector hit pedestrian

The Minnesota Daily reported that a Campus Connector hit a pedestrian on Friday.

The pedestrian who was crossing the street while the “don’t walk? sign was flashing suffered no major injuries after he fell to the ground and was taken by ambulance to the Fairview Health Service said University Deputy Police Chief Steve Johnson.

The Campus Connector was on route at the intersection of Washington Avenue and Union Street when it hit the pedestrian at about 2 p.m.

The pedestrian is believed not to be a student, after Johnson said that the pedestrians name was not found in the University student/staff directory.

The driver is not employed directly by the University, but subcontracted. At this point he will not be facing any direct disciplinary actions from PTS.

Friendly Democratic debate allows important issues to be discussed

On Thursday evening, president candidates Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama met for the first time for their one on one debate before Super Tuesday, reported The New York Times.

Both candidates believed that the presidential race is really between them. “We will change our country,? said Clinton.

In an atmosphere of smiles and cordially remarks, the candidates lay their differences in health care, the war in Iraq and driver license for illegal immigrants.

Obama believes that he has a stronger position in regards to the war in Iraq because unlike Clinton, he voted against the war in Iraq in 2002.

“I think it is much easier for us to have the argument when we have a nominee who says, ‘I always thought this was a bad idea, this was a bad strategy,? said Obama.

Clinton has had to explain her decision on the 2002 Senate vote for war against Iraq and her shift in opposition to it.

She has also had to explain herself in her shift in position in the issue of immigration.
Obama supports giving driver license to illegal immigrants. “People don’t come here to drive, they come here to work,? said Barack.

He also brought to attention that Clinton has “a number of different answers on [it] over the course of six weeks,? said Obama, “now she has a clear position, but it took awhile.?

Clinton rebutted by explaining that her initial stand was so she could help Gov. Eliot Spitzer of New York. Now she has changed her position, she believes that it is a “difficult issue.?

Both candidates were asked about the possibility of becoming each others vice president, reports the StarTribune.com.

“I respect Senator Clinton, I think her service to this country is extraordinary.? But Obama said, “We’ve got a lot more road to travel,? Clinton just agreed with Barack.

They were not allowed to question each other during the debate, but they did take questions from the views.

“A 38-year-old woman in South Carolina, who sent her question in by e-mail, said she had never voted for someone not named Bush or Clinton. She wondered how Clinton would represent change.? (New York Times)

Clinton replied, “It did take a Clinton to clean after the first Bush and I think it might take another one to clean up after the second Bush.?

February 2, 2008

Disabled women used as suicide bombers in Iraq

Both bombers involved in the attacks in Iraq were women with apparent mental disabilities, reports CNN.com They were strapped with bombs which were detonated via cell phones recounts the spokesmen for Baghdad’s security, Gen. Qasim Atta. It is believed that both women were unaware of the plans to detonate the bombs.

At least 98 people were killed, and over 200 people wounded in both attacks.
It is the bloodiest attacks since August 2007, when three car bombs killed 80 people. (BBC.co.uk)

The attacks occurred in animal markets, "A popular spectacle for Baghdad is the animal market that only opens on Fridays and regularly draws crowds, despite having been targeted by bombers twice in 2007," states BBC.co.uk

The first bomb went off at 10:20 local time, followed by the second just twenty minutes afterwards.

CNN states that the Pentagon has condemned al Qaeda in Iraq for these attacks.

The response to these attacks by American officials are as followed, and portray some of the judgments of the aftermath of these attacks.

"By targeting innocent Iraqis, they show their true demonic character,? said Lt. Col. Steve Stover a spokesman for the Multi-National Division-Baghdad. (CNN.com)

"There is nothing they won't do if they think it will work in creating carnage and the political fallout that comes from that," said the US ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker. (BBC.co.uk)