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November 23, 2008

Minnesota wolf pups dying from virus, study finds

Half of wolf pups born in Minnesota each year die from a disease that has stunted the growth of the state's wolf population, study finds.

The highly contagious disease, the canine parovirus, kills between 40 percent and 60 percent of wolf pups, the study details in the Journal of Wildlife Diseases.

The gray wolf population in other states has increased substantially, but there is only a 4 percent growth in Minnesota compared to the 16 to 58 percent in other states, David Mech, a scientist at the U.S. Geological Survey, said.

The virus attacks the gastrointestinal tract of the pups, and can kill them within a few days, reported a Post-Bulletin article.

Dan Stark, wolf specialist with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, thinks disease isn't the only reason the population has stabilized and says that the problem needs to studied further.

Man shot and killed at Scientology building

A man wielding a sword died after being shot by a security guard at the Scientology building in Hollywood, police said in an Associated Press article.

Around noon, the unidentified man approached the guard in the parking lot of the Scientology Celebrity Centre, said Officer April Harding, a police spokesperson.

The guard shot at the man because he "felt threatened for his life," Harding said.

Detectives questioned the guard to figure out the man's motives and if the guard decision was the best one, Harding said.

The unidentified man died at the hospital, according to the article.

Mall of America expects growth despite the slow economy

Despite dire predictions in sales for the year, the Mall of America stays optimistic by expecting ending up two to three percent in sales, reported Heather Brown from WCCO.

Although that projection may be down from the seven percent in 2007, the MOA is looking to fair better than most other retail places, according the the WCCO.com article.

It may be due to the amusements and variety of shops that attributes to the growth, Dan Jasper, a Mall spokesman, said.

There will still be international shoppers and visitors from Iowa and Wisconsin, too, because there is no sales tax on clothes in Minnesota, Jasper said.

In the past month, three new stores have opened in the Mall, and all are seeing a large number of customers.

The new American Girl store was packed Saturday morning and the line went all the way to the Nike store entrance, reported the article.

American Apparel and True Religion Jeans are also looking to move in later this year. Sometime in the spring, a hotel connected to the Mall will have plans in the making.

Saudi royalty helps cure Rochester's economic fall

The recent eight-day visit by Saudi Arabia's royal family helped to remedy the city's economic woe's for the year, reported a Rochester Post-Bulletin article.

Rochester officials say the family spent enough money, $1 million to $2.5 million, to help the economy.

Accompanied by at least five Saudi princes and hundreds of others, Saudi Arabian King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz arrived in Rochester on Nov. 15 for a check up at Mayo Clinic.

The king left Wednesday, but others from his group still remain in the city.

The family's spending should help the recent slight economic strain that started in October, said Brad Jones executive director of Rochester Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The Mayo Clinic did not acknowledge the visit from the Saudi Arabian king, stated the article.

"Happy hour" may be banned in Britain

In an effort to curb drinking, British is considering banning "happy hour" discounts, a spokesperson said Saturday.

Health advocates said that the liver-related deaths are on the rise in young people, according to an Associated Press article.

The proposal is aimed at a growing trend in binge drinking, especially among young adults and teenagers, according the the article.

The government is also looking to improve underage drinking enforcement, the article said.

"'We're seeing a steep increase of deaths in people in their 20s and 30s," a British Liver Trust spokeswoman Imogen Shillito said.

"'This indicates a big problem for many years to come'," she said.

Among people aged 25 to 29, alcohol-related deaths were 40 percent higher in 2006 than the year before, Shillito said, citing national statistics.

"They can buy alcohol with their pocket money," Shillito said about how lower alcohol prices were contributing to drinking among younger drinkers.

In addition to banning "happy hour" discounts, officials are considering banning drinking games that are sometimes played at pubs, according to the article.

November 16, 2008

Obama likely to renew birth control clinic funds

Observers believe that among many of the new executive orders Barack Obama will sign, one is likely to lift the ban on US funding for family planning groups overseas, the AFP reported.

"I think there's a very good likelihood that he will lift the 'global gag rule,'" Steven Mosher, head of the pro-life, non-profit Population Research Institute, said in the same article.

When George W. Bush came into office, he reversed former President Clinton's reversal of the previous holds on the funds.

The Bush administration blocked the funding because they believed that the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) was supporting coercive abortions, the article said.

However, the ban also took away the money that also goes to family planning and contraception, Tait Sye, a spokesman for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), said.

In developing countries, were access to contraception is sparse, many women turn to abortion as a means of birth control, according to a World Bank report published in July.

The report also states that abortion is more costly than contraceptive services.

Many pro-life supporters are distressed about the decision to overthrow the gag rule.

"The majority of Americans are horrified by the concept of abortion and that includes many types of hormonal contraception which operate by causing early abortion," Katie Walker, spokeswoman for the American Life League told AFP.

"We are appalled that Barack Obama is considering changing the policy," she said.

Roughly 50 percent of Americans are pro-choice and around 40 percent are pro-life, according to a survey by Gallup conducted in May.

Health concerns caused by wood-burning

The wood-burning that many Minnesotans use to keep warm in the winter is raising some concerns, according to a WCCO.com article.

The fine particles and gases that can be released from the burning of the wood can cause serious health problems, such as emphysema, the article said.

Jamie O'Link of St. Cloud was diagnosed earlier this year with emphysema, but not from smoking, but from being exposed to large amounts of wood smoke, O'Link said.

Wood smoke is similar to the smoke from tobacco smoke, Chuck Stroebel, a research scientist with the Minnesota Department of Health, said in the article.

Other pollutants from wood smoke can also cause asthma and bronchitis, Stroebel said.

Home hit by hunter's stray bullet

A Stearn county couple's home was hit by stray gunfire Saturday.

The slug hit the window while the husband was on the roof stringing Christmas lights, according to the Star Tribune article.

Neither David W. Weis, 48, nor his wife, Theresa, 42, was injured. The hunter was gvien a warning about the unintentional incident, the article stated.

Brent Lang's, 39, slug missed the intended target and traveled three-fourths of a mile before hitting the Weis' home, according to officials.

Lang will have to pay for a replacement window.

12 die in a mine in Romania

Eight miners and four emergency workers died in a mine explosion Saturday in southwestern Romania, officials said.

The first of the two explosions killed the miners in Jiu Valley at a depth of 800 feet, the Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu said, according to an Associated Press article.

The second explosion killed the four emergency workers.

After the first explosion, hundreds of family members gathered at the mining site, according to the article.

The Prime Minister said he would visit the area later Saturday.

Officials said the explosions were caused by a buildup of methane gas. Eight injured miners are being treated for burns, officials said.

About 100 miners were working at the time of the explosion, officials said.

November 9, 2008

Numbers Analysis

The article I will analyze that involves the use of numbers is the article on how headphones affect people with heart defribulators and pacemakers. The article is found at this URL: Music headphones can interfere with heart devices.

Carbon Monoxide detectors required in all homes

Experts say people need to be more cautious of carbon monoxide, especially in the approaching winter season with more people turning on the furnace to keep warm, according to a Minnesota Daily article.

Almost way of heating a building gives off carbon monoxide, and the number of carbon monoxide incidents increase as many people turn up their thermostats to in the winter months, Jon Nisja, supervisor in the Minnesota Fire Marshal’s Office, said.

There are more than 500 unintentional deaths a year due to carbon monoxide poisoning in the nation, and between 2002 and 2006, 92 Minnesotans died from unintentional exposure to carbon monoxide, according to the Minnesota Poison Control System.

“It is a colorless, tasteless, odorless gas that makes you lethargic and puts you to sleep, which is one of the worst things you can do," Nisja said.

A new state law, effective on Aug. 1of this year, requires all homes to have carbon monoxide detectors within 10 feet of each bedroom. Apartment buildings must comply by August of 2009, according to the article.

If the occupants of a house are renters, then their landlord is in charge of supplying a detector; but the renters are responsible for alerting the landlord of any problems.

There is no enforcement in this law.

New species of gecko discovered

Carried 12,000 miles from a South Pacific island in a Kleenex box, an egg of a new species of gecko was hatched by French Scientists, reported the Associated Press.

Supporters of gay marriage march in Calif., Utah

Thousands of protesters angered by the recent passage of Proposition 8, the measure to ban gay marriage, marched in the streets of Calif., and Utah, reported the Associated Press.

Infidelity on the rise, but no less hurtful

More younger couples — those under age 35 — reported they had been unfaithful, according to data collected from 1991 to 2006 in recent study stuconducted by the General Social Survey.