« October 2008 | Main

November 30, 2008

Thailand to negotiate with airport protesters

According to the BBC, thousands of anti-government protesters who continue to occupy two airports in the Thai capital, Bangkok, kept an estimated 100,000 passengers stranded.

The Thai government says it will spend some $30 million over the next month to help stranded tourists, including giving them free hotel rooms and daily expenses, said the BBC.

According to an AP article, the protesters, belonging to the People's Alliance for Democracy, won't give up until the government of Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat steps down.

Government spokesman Nattawut Sai-Kau said police would avoid violence and attempt to negotiate with the protesters the AP article said.

Wal Mart employee trampled to death

According to an AP article in the Denver Post a temporary worker, Jdimytai Damour, was mowed down as about 2,000 bargain-hunters surged into a Valley Stream, N.Y. Wal Mart during it's Friday's 5 a.m. opening.

At least four other people, including a woman eight months pregnant, were taken to hospitals for observation or treatment for minor injuries said the article.

The New York Times reported that the front doors of the store shattered, and the mob ran through the entrance to look for holiday bargains.

The New York Times also noted that the day after Thanksgiving is known as Black Friday because it has traditionally marked the point when a throng of shoppers pushes stores into profitability for the year.

New Brighton council member pleads guilty to hiring prostitute

New Brighton City Council Member David A. Phillips entered Wednesday in Ramsey County District Court to a misdemeanor charge of engaging in prostitution said the Star Tribune.

According to the Star Tribune, the council member was one of nine men arrested Feb. 25 by St. Paul police in a prostitution sting.

The Pioneer Press reported that Phillips submitted an Alford plea, which means he agrees that a jury would have enough evidence to convict him.

Phillips will be placed on probation for one year, pay $828 in costs and fines, and attend "john school," which educates men on prostitution's effect on the women involved the Pioneer Press said.

November 23, 2008

Venezuela Votes

As Venezuelans began to vote on Sunday, reported the New York Times, President Hugo Chávez told his followers and opponents to respect the outcome of the races across Venezuela.

“We are prepared to recognize any result,? Chávez said in televised comments after voting.

The BBC reported that last year President Chavez had his first electoral defeat in almost 10 years, losing a referendum that would have let presidents seek indefinite re-election.

His government's failure to control crime and inflation are voters' main concerns said the BBC.

Three killed in Wisconsin plane crash

Authorities in Wisconsin said a small airplane has crashed in the backyard of a house in Marshfield, killing the three people on board the aircraft said an AP article in the Denver Post.

The AP reported that no one on the ground was hurt.

The three people died behind a house in the 1200 block of West 17th Street at 11 p.m. Saturday, the Marshfield Police Department told the Marshfield News Herald.

The Herald also said that the release of the victims names is pending until positive identification of the bodies can be made.

Retired Ramsey County Judge Dickinson dies

The Star Tribune reported that A. James Dickinson died at his home in St. Paul after a battle with pancreatic cancer on Saturday.

The Star Tribune said he was 67, the Pioneer Press said he was 68.

District Judge Peg Marrinan called him "a gentleman of the old school - courtly, gentle, kind and a fine judge," the Star Tribune reported.

The Pioneer Press said Dickinson earned his law degree from the University of Minnesota in 1965 and worked at the law firm Stringer & Rohleder until 1997.

Gov. Arne Carlson appointed Dickinson to the Ramsey County bench in 1997 said the Pioneer Press.

November 16, 2008

Fires in California

According to the LA Daily News, the Sayre fire grew to more than 10,000 acres on Sunday night after destroying 623 structures in its path from Sylmar to the Santa Clarita Valley.

The fire was 40 percent contained by around 8 p.m. on Sunday night, officials told the LA Daily.

Santa Ana winds that spread the fires on Saturday weakened Sunday morning and allowed firefighters to prevent flames from advancing to hillside neighborhoods by setting backfires, according to an AP article.

Another 1,400 residents have been asked to leave, not including the 26,500 people that have already been asked to evacuate, said the AP.

Why the Bridge Fell

The Star Tribune reported on Friday the results of the NTSB's bridge report.

According the the Star Tribune, the bridge was heavily loaded with construction equipment, equivalent to the weight of a 747 airplane.

The National Transportation Safety Board officially decided at the end of a two-day hearing that the 35W bridge collapsed because of faulty gusset plates the Pioneer Press said.

According to the Pioneer Press, the gusset plates were too thin by half, a fault of the engineering firm that designed the bridge.

November 10, 2008

8-year-old boy accused of killing his father

An 8-year-old boy has been charged with killing his father and father's friend on Wednesday in St.Johns, Ariz., according to the White Mountain Independent.

The boy was charged with the two homicides and is currently being held at the Apache County Juvenile Detention Center.

An AP article reported that Vincent Romero, 29, and Timothy Romans, 39, were found dead inside Romero's home, one at the entrance and one in an upstairs room.

"Everybody knows them because there's like 100 of them," said Marybeth Ellsworth, who played the piano at Romero's wedding in September. "They're very well-liked in the community." - the AP article said.

China's new stimulus plan

The New York Times reported that China announced an economic stimulus plan on Sunday to help its weak economy.

The $586 billion plan could also help fight the effects of the global slowdown, the Times said.

The money is to go into housing, infrastructure and post-earthquake reconstruction in China over the next two years, said the BBC.

China's markets have already risen a day after they announced the investment plan to kick-start its slowing economy.

Absentee ballots causing problems

According to the Pioneer Press, Republican U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman's campaign asked a Ramsey County judge to stop the counting of absentee ballots Saturday that were in a city election official's car Friday night, , according to the Coleman campaign.

There were 32 absentee ballots in the car.

Only 221 votes separate Coleman from DFLer Al Franken in unofficial tallies, said the Star Tribune.

The Coleman campaign believes that the integrity of the ballots "is in serious doubt."

The argument was dismissed on jurisdictional grounds by Kathleen Gearin, chief district court judge in Ramsey County.

November 3, 2008

Senate candidates have one last word

Minnesota's Senate U.S. Senate candidates Norm Coleman, Al Franken and Dean Barkley held their last debate in a theater Sunday according to the Star Tribune.

The Senate candidates discussed allegations and countercharges that threaten to consume the contest in the closing week.

The Pioneer Press reported that Independence Party candidate Dean Barkley was silent for the first ten minutes of the debate as Coleman and Franken debated.

When asked what he thought of the situation facing Coleman and Franken, Barkley said, "Well, I think you know one of the reasons why I'm running."