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September 28, 2008

House approves nuclear pact with India

A decades-long ban is lifted as The House of Representatives voted Saturday to approve a deal that allows an active nuclear relationship between the U.S. and India.

CNN reports that the pact allows commercial nuclear trade creating more civilian power plants for India and in return the U.S. is allowed inspections of these civilian power plants. The pact doesn’t allow for India’s military power plants to be searched.

The deal passed with a 298-117 vote in the House but has yet to pass in the Senate before becoming a law. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid D-Nev., guaranteed a Senate vote sometime this week. CNN reports that India’s cabinet has already approved the deal.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that President Bush is urging the Senate to pass this bill as quickly, before they adjourn in October. He says the bill will transform and strengthen the U.S.’s relationship with India.

This agreement has been high priority for India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as India has been under a nuclear trade ban since 1974. However India is refusing to join the nuclear nonproliferation treaty which would prevent the country from testing of nuclear weapons.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that supporters are in favor of the bill because it puts India’s atomic program under closer examination. Critics think that the bill could spark an arms race in South Asia.

Helicopter crash kills 4

A medical evacuation helicopter crashed early Sunday morning on its way to bring accident victims to the trauma center, killing four of the five passengers.

Two police officers, a flight paramedic and a 17-year-old patient all died in the crash. The only survivor is 18-year-old Jordan Wells, another patient who is now in critical condition.

reports that the helicopter was bringing car crash victims to Prince George's Hospital but changed flight plans to avoid bad weather. They planned to land at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington, Maryland.

Star Tribune reports that the helicopter lost contact with officials around 12:30 a.m. and almost two hours later officials found the wreckage on a park trail near the base.

"This is a devastating tragedy," Colonel Terrence Sheridan, superintendent of the Maryland State Police said, according to CNN. "We have had crashes before but never with four dead. This is the worst."

September 24, 2008

20-year-old Augsburg student shot

An Augsburg student was fatally shot on Monday afternoon as he left a local community center in Minneapolis.

The man was identified as Ahmed Nur Ahmed Ali and, the Pioneer Press reports that officers arrived around 5 p.m., just after the shooting. Ali was found lying in the street and pronounced dead at the scene.

The Star Tribune reports that it was 20-year-old Ali’s first day of his work study program at the Brian Coyle Center in the Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis. Though it was during the day, police have no suspects or witnesses.

The Star Tribune reports that Ali was a Political Science and International Relations student at Augsburg College. On Tuesday, over 700 community members gathered at Foss Chapel in memory of Ali.

Since April, Ali is the third Somali man killed in Minneapolis. Police said they don’t believe Ali was involved in any criminal activity and that it’s too early to determine if these three killings are related.

September 21, 2008

43 killed in nightclub fire

Fire caused by fireworks killed at least 43 people and injured 88 at a South China nightclub on Saturday night.

Officials don’t yet know the cause of the fire but it is under investigation. CNN reports that police have linked 12 people to the incident

reports that many of injuries were received during the stampede to exit from the third floor of the club down a narrow staircase.

The Washington Post reports that Chinese government has been trying to improve safety in nightclubs, bars and theaters as these types of incidents happen too often. In 2000, 309 people were killed in a fire at a disco.

Ministry raided, 6 children in custody

After police raided an evangelist's compound in Arkansas, 6 minors have been placed into temporary custody.

reports that the children may have been physically and sexually abused at the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries near Texarkana, Arkansas. The Star Tribune reports that the children being interviewed seem to be 12-, 13-, and 14-year-olds. The man who runs the ministry says for girls “consent is puberty? when it comes to sex.

"It's a hoax," Tony Alamo, who runs the ministry, said according to CNN. "They're just trying to make our church look evil ... by saying I'm a pornographer. Saying that I rape little children. ... I love children. I don't abuse them. Never have. Never will."

CNN also reports that Alamo compared himself to Christ when asked why authorties were searching the property. "Why were they after Jesus?" he asked. "It's the same reason. Jesus is living within me."

Star Tribune
reports that Tony Alamo’s ministry has been considered a cult by critics.

The children will be interviewed and the courts will decide the children’s status with the ministry.

Motorcycle crash may have been intentional

A young woman died in a motorcycle crash early Friday morning in Andover. The body was identified as 28-year-old Natasha Waalen of Anoka and according to the Pioneer Press, the motorcycle was registered in her name.

Friday night Waalen’s boyfriend and father of her 4-year-old daughter, Ryan Boland, 33, was arrested on suspicion of killing her.

The Star Tribune reported that Waalen’s body seemed to have injuries not congruent with a motorcycle crash that led them to believe it was more than a motorcycle accident. Investigators didn’t yet describe these injuries.

“It's hard to accept is about the only thing I can say," said Natasha Waalen's father, Jeff, according to the Star Tribune. "It would be easier for me to believe something else than thinking it was the guy she had known for 10 years."

Star Tribune also reported that Jeff Waalen thought a man who had recently threatened to kill his daughter over a potential lawsuit was a much more likely suspect.

The Pioneer Press reported that the neighborhood that Boland and Waalen called home was a bit shaken up.
“They were both very quiet," their neighbor Valorie Burke said. "I think the thing most neighbors had observed in the last year, if one was home, the other one wasn't. You just didn't see them together."
Despite that, "I knew they loved that little girl of theirs," she said.
A charging decision is expected early next week.

September 14, 2008

No survivors in Russian passenger jet crash

A passenger jet crashed onto railway tracks after it caught fire and exploded over the city of Parm, Russia, killing all 88 of the passengers.
According to Yahoo News, the crash happened only a few hundred meters from residential buildings during the Boeing 737-500’s landing approach. reports that there was no suggestion of terrorism and a more likely cause of the fire is the failure of the jet’s two engines.
The jet, flying from Perm to Moscow, lost communication with air traffic control and crashed around 3:10 a.m.
Both sources reported that of the 6 person crew or the 82 passengers, no one survived. The aircraft carried passengers from Azerbaijan, Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland and Ukraine. No American passengers were on board.
CNN reports that Russia and the Soviet Union have been notoriously bad with airline safety citing poor pilot training and insufficient government controls.

Bill Clinton predicts a victory for Obama reported that democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama visited Bill Clinton at his Harlem office.
"I predict that Sen. Obama will win and win handily," Clinton said.
The two then shared lunch, which Yahoo News reported as pizza and sandwiches at Cosi.
According to CNN, Clinton plans to make regular appearances with Obama and his campaign, “"I've agreed to do a substantial number of things, whatever I'm asked to do."
Yahoo News said that the meeting of Obama and Clinton drew many people trying to catch a glimpse of the duo which they were graced with – a few waves from both but no hand shakes from either.

St. Catherine University set to debut in 2009

The College of St. Catherine’s is having a face lift to represent the changes the college has made since its beginnings, according to the Pioneer Press, in 1905.
The name beat out 3 other options: University of St. Catherine, Saint Catherine of Alexandria University and the University of Saint Catherine of Alexandria.
The name was chosen by a board of trustees who voted unanimously.
Students who entered the College of St. Catherine but will leave with it named as St. Catherine University have the option of which they would like on their diploma.
According to the Star Tribune, the school’s budget has doubled over the past 10 years. Not only that, but their enrollment has had 10 years of consecutive growth meaning it is now larger than Smith or Wellesley College.
The school’s president, Sister Andrea Lee said, "We haven't been solely a baccalaureate institution for women since 1979. It became clear it was time to look at [the name]. We didn't enter it lightly. This is a process that took over a year, engaged a lot of people and featured a lot of conversation."
The Pioneer Press reported that student Molly Hall said, “St. Kate's is still St. Kate's.?