2nd Bombing Suspect Found After Manhunt

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Life in Boston and the surrounding area came to a complete standstill this week in the aftermath of the two bombings that occurred Monday at the annual Boston Marathon. What was so impactful about the bombings were that for the few days afterwards, authorities had absolutely no idea who was responsible for carrying out the bombings, asking for marathon spectators and runners alike to submit their own photos and videos as well as report any suspicious activity they had seen Monday.

After the long silence and limited knowledge of the possible suspects and their motives, authorities were able to find two suspects who were believed to be responsible. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, were brothers who had immigrated to the United States in early 2000s, were identified as being the perpetrators of the bombings. With suspects identified, local and federal authorities began the manhunt for the two brothers.

With the help of witnesses and by tracking the cellphone of the man whom the brothers carjacked, authorities were able to track down the Tsarnaev brothers. Upon locating the two suspects, police and the Tsarnaev brother engaged in a shootout where Tamerian Tsarnaev was shot and killed while his brother, Dzhokhar, escaped in the stolen vehicle.

Following the shootout, Dzhokhar escaped and became the target in a city-wide manhunt carried out by state and federal authorities. Tensions were extremely high within Boston and the surrounding areas, including Cambridge and Watertown, where a police order had sent citizens to their homes to remain there until Dzhorkhar was apprehended.

It was Friday night when the police found Dzhorkhar hiding in a boat that was being stored in a driveway, covered by a heavy tarp. After throwing three flash-bang grenades into the boat and tearing the tarp open by using a unmanned robot, authorities were able to take Dzhorkhar Tsarnaev into custody. Dzhorkhar was brought to the hospital upon his arrest to receive medical treatment.

What followed was the greatest sigh of relief from the entire country. The thing that made people so uneasy and afraid about the bombings and the its aftermath was lack of evidence or knowledge regarding the intentions and objectives of the perpetrators. Until suspects for the bombings were found, citizens and government authorities seemed to be equally lost, trying to grasp at anything that might provide some insight into how and why the bombings occurred Monday. And now that Dzhorkhar is in custody, answers will hopefully begin to surface, giving insight into the roots of the terrible tragedies that were the bombings at Monday's Boston Marathon.

Local SWAT leader convicted of assault

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A Minneapolis police Sgt. was found guilty on charges of assault after instigating a confrontation at a local bar, leaving the other party seriously hurt. Sgt. David Clifford had been drinking on the patio of a local bar-Tanner's Station-in Andover, Minn. when an intoxicated man, Vander Lee, at a nearby table began speaking very loudly with obscenities worked into his phrasing.

When Clifford, who was off-duty at the point of the confrontation, approached the Lee, telling him the settle down. But, the Lee did not back down. And as the video footage from the bar's security camera shows, Clifford was the first to make an aggressive move, punching the intoxicated Lee once across the face, knocking him out cold. What made matters worse for Clifford-other than the fact that he ran away directly after the confrontation-was that upon falling unconscious to the ground, Lee struck his head on the concrete pavement and later had to receive three different brain surgeries for his injuries.

What is interesting about both articles is that both mention Clifford not receiving any special treatment because he is(or was) a cop. Both articles held quotations of people who were commenting on the whether or not Clifford should receive preferential treatment, which brings up the interesting question: Is the law above the law itself? I do not think so. To often, politicians and individuals who hold authoritative roles have been left untouched, or lightly punished, getting a soft deal because of the profession one holds. While I believe that sending any cop, but Clifford in particular, into a federal prison could potentially be a death sentence in its own way, I do also believe that Clifford was completely in the wrong. And especially since he was off-duty at the time, and so should be treated as any other citizen.

Endangered Manatees Dying in Record Numbers

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Off the west coast of Florida, a species of toxic red algae has risen to record numbers this year, resulting in the poison making its way into nearly aspect of life on the coast. The growth of the algae, which thrives in warm water, typically increases each spring as the local power plant releases its stored warm water back into the ocean. This increase in water temperature is also an attraction to manatees, that gather yearly, and feast upon the seagrass in the area.

The problem with this-as manatees can eat over 1,000 pounds of food per day-is that the red algae's toxins are released through both the water and the air. With such capabilities, the poison infiltrates and clings to all types of sea plants as well as becoming airborne as the crashing waves send particles into the air to be carried by the wind across the water. And often onto land where tourists and local citizens have been known to get sick due to the algae.

But what is killing the endangered manatees in their consumption of the poisoned seagrasses. Because of the poisoned food source on the coast, 241 manatees have been killed by illness this year, with the previous annual count reporting 151 manatees killed.
While the cause for the influx of red algae off the west side of Florida may lead to a couple different conclusions, the primary cause reported by professionals, was the warm-water discharge as well as the very mild winter Florida has had. The combination has allowed for the algae to remain alive for longer than in the past and to grow and expand.

One thing in that stood out as interesting in the article was the writers unbiased report of the possibility of river pollutants from froms up-river from the coast being part of the cause. Such contaminants are primarily phosphorous, the preferred diet of red algae. While the writer, Michael Wines, poses the possible scenario, his word choice leaves no visible ulterior motives or personal opinion, something that I am working on getting better at currently.

Yesterday, I came across a couple articles and videos regarding Mike Rice's behavior as the head coach for the Rutgers basketball team. Initially, when I read the leads of the articles, I assumed they could potentially have been hyperbolic, as many news sources have a tendency to blow things out of proportion. I thought that for about 30 seconds, until I saw the footage of Rice's behavior.

Watching Rice forcefully pull and shove his own players around the court, all the while screaming vulgar insults and hurling basketballs at them, I was completely disgusted. I was disgusted not only at head coach Rice but also with Rutgers athletic director, Tim Pernetti, and the utter lack of disciplinary action he took upon initially hearing about Rice's conduct and seeing actual video footage. A three game suspension and $50,000 fine is not due punishment for the actions of Rice, who continued his typical practices without any change. Rice's firey demeanor might have looked good on television and to the crowd during an actual game, but to see such actions done in practices-an environment that is far more private-shows that Rice's attitude and coaching style was not simply intended for show.

What surprised me most after both seeing pieces of the practice videos, and reading the reactions from current and past players in the ESPN article, was that every player seemed to take the cruel treatment without challenging Rice, either verbally or physically. With a team comprised of large, fit athletes, it is surprising that players never retaliated in any way after being called f**s, or in the case of one Lithuanian student, having his personality and entire homecountry demeaned on a regular basis. As I have heard many stories of peer pressure regarding the treatment that individuals take in order to fit in(fraternity/club being the largest example), it is somewhat understandable why players would succumb to the treatment but nonetheless surprising considering the true extent of Rice's negative treatment.

The entire situation at Rutgers appeared similar-but on a much smaller scale-to that of Penn State and Jerry Sandusky, as head coach Joe Paterno had been aware of the child abuses but done nothing about it. I question whether or not Pernetti would have taken further action had the hundreds of hours of footage not been released to the public, resulting it public outrage. Now, firing Rice, it is as though Pernetti is trying to sheepishly cover his own ass while mumbling illogical excuses as to why nothing more had been done when the issue was initially brought to his attention.

But, now that Rice has since been fired in the aftermath of the practice footage being released, hopefully Rutgers-Pernetti included-can begin to rebuild their basketball program with a new head coach. The bad judgement of Pernetti and the horrendous actions of Rice will overshadow the school for some time but it will not be that way forever, and I am confident that with time, the basketball program and the sports program in its entirety will regain its standing in the eyes of the public and grow to be much stronger than before.

As North Korea continues to test the boundaries of relations between themselves and South Korea, it seems as though both countries are gearing up against one another, preparing for the worst-and in North Korea's case, wanting it. Officially ending the armistice between the two Koreas, an agreement more similar to a cease-fire than a peace treaty, a signed agreement that was implemented in the early 50s during the Korean War. What is particularly interesting is that technically, both countries are still at war, with the armistice being the only thing maintaining any sort of sense of peace. That, and of course the DMZ, which is the borderline between North and South Korea. The DMZ is an area of such high tension that visiters are banned from even pointing as they are afraid it could potentially start WWIII or at least resume the Korean War.

As North Korea works to improve its Nuclear program, threatening to attack both South Korea and America alike, the extent of exactly how far the country has gotten it is relatively unknown. This is because North Korea is a completely closed off society, disallowing any foreign objects or materials from being brought into the country, all in attempts to maintain its own society without outside influences of any kind.

What has been seen is recent months as more threats than possibilities for serious action or potential war could potentially change in the coming year as North Korea continues to make more and more legitimate threats against their enemies, including America. While most stories today just discuss a bit of the history of the conflict and the threats North Korea has made, so impending action or war seems to be coming in the forefront, but this is a topic that I will follow in this blog as an ongoing series, because North Korea fascinates me in so many ways, mainly regarding are vastly different and unknown the country truly is.

Two men escaped from a Duluth federal prison camp Sunday, disappearing unnoticed until a routine head count of the inmates. The white-collar prison camp, which sits on what used to be an old air base, has no barbed wire fences; no walls; and no guard towers with snipers at the ready in case something goes down. In fact, the prison camp is instead more like a summer camp or crappy college dorm than a prison, with a small movie theater and dorm-style sleeping arrangements. Because of the camp's less strict policy puts a great deal of trust in the inmates themselves, only a small portion of criminals are allowed there, after being evaluated as someone who will most likely make no attempts to flee.

And yet, such a trust did not stop Michael Krzyzaniak and Gerald Greenfield from making their escape Sunday, Mar 31. Prison officials would not day whether or not the two men, ages 64(Krzyzaniak) and 67(Greenfield), knew each other or even escaped together. With similar histories of fraud and attempted tax evasion, totaling in multimillions of dollars, it would be surprising if the two did not have a connection with one another in some way.

Both men still had multiple years left of their sentences, but will most likely not be given the chance to return to the much more relaxed set-up of the prison camp in Duluth as attempting escape completely violates the honor agreement between the prison and its inmates. Instead, upon recapture, the two may begin to make a similar tour of state penitentiaries of that of Denny Hecker, another Minnesota business man and car mogul, who had a brief stay at the Duluth prison camp before moving to many different prisons.

It is unclear at this time exactly how or when the two escaped, but prison officials are not too concerned as the two have no history of violence. State authorities also expect to find and to pick the two men up shortly, at which point, they will receive a new sentence with additional years added as consequence for their actions.

Cyprus: What Else Can Go Wrong?

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I have tried to keep up to date with the financial crisis happening in Europe, especially when it comes to the problems that have arisen within Greece. I have listened to podcasts; read articles; and watched the news in order to better understand how Greece's financial problems began. After learning more about the problems in Greece, I have a very difficult time sympathizing with the government. The citizens yes, the government no. In fact, had Greece not initially lied and distorted the facts regarding the country's infrastructure, Greece would have never been allowed to join the EU in the first place. What surprised me further was when Greece initially turned up its nose at the initial bale-out presented to them.

The articles I read from Al Jazeera and the New York Timesdiscussed the recent bailout for Cyprus that was agreed upon by European officials. Cyprus, an Island in Greece that has many inflated banks, was-and still is-a safe holding place for many prominent Russians, who have put billions of dollars into the Island's banks.

One of the ways that Greece plans to attempt to make up the losses that the banks have created is to take a portion of money out of each citizen's banking account, including the accounts of foreign individuals and groups that have put huge sums of money into the Cyprus banks. This will of course anger those who are not Greek citizens but are still being penalized due to the problems of Greece. As the new bailout continues to move forward, I am curious to see where Greece, as well as the EU in its entirety, will go from here and whether or not the EU's economy will be able to get back on track in the coming years.


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