March 2010 Archives

Haiti to recieve money

An international effort to donate around $10 billion to ailing Haiti for earthquake relief was discussed at a United Nations meeting Wednesday.

The pledge is a combined effort from 59 countries that will donate around $5 billion the first two years and a around $10 billion for three years or more, Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary general, said, according to The New York Times.

The United States is one of the leading contributors donating around $1 billion to the cause, according to the BBC.

The plan for how to get the money to Haiti will start with the World Bank, where they will then distribute certain amounts for reconstruction projects around the country, according to The New York Times.

Before the earthquake occurred Haiti was considered the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, according to the BBC.

A change to the future of student loans

President Obama signed a measure Tuesday that changes the government's role with student loans.

The news rules state that the government lend money directly to students who take out loans for higher education. Banks are not going to be the "middlemen" of that process anymore, which ceases them from gaining money through interest on student loans, according to USA Today.

Obama says that this new plan will save will save $68 billion in the upcoming years. It will also reduce repayment rates of student loans down to 10 percent of a borrower's discretionary income, instead of the current 15 percent, according to The New York Times.

Pell Grants, which are aimed towards students from low- and moderate-income families, be saving more than $40 billion of the $68 billion, according to USA Today.

The new law also helps out the community colleges. Over the next four years $2 billion will be invested into education and career training programs for workers who are eligible for Trade Adjustment aid, according to The New York Times.


Hecker taken into custody

Denny Hecker, a once-giant in the automotive sales industry, was taken into custody Tuesday by court officials for failing to provide adequate financial information for case dealing with his second wife.

Judge Jay Quam ordered Hennepin County sheriff's deputies to arrest Hecker because he was not able to make alimony payments to Sandra Hecker, according to the Star Tribune.

"I don't like doing this," Judge Quam told Hecker. "But I am going to take you into custody to motivate you," according to the Star Tribune.

This came after Hecker testified for about an hour on the stand. He mentioned difficulty raising money for his defense, the financial debt he accrued over the years and problems with family life, according to the Pioneer Press.

"I have never had an intention problem to pay. I have had an ability to pay problem," Hecker said, during his hearing, accordng to the Star Tribune.

Hecker is scheduled to make another appearance in court on Tuesday dealing with matters involving his fourth wife, Tamitha, according to the Pioneer Press.

Coach is out after 13 years

Boston College and men's basketball coach Al Skinner decided to mutually part ways with each other last Wednesday.

The announcement was not mentioned until recently, due to Skinner being interviewed by St. John's University for the same position. Boston College officials say the reason for the quietness was so that Skinner could gain employment, according to The New York Times.

"Change is good sometimes. How many basketball coaches have been in the same position for 13 years? Very, very few," Gene DeFillpo, Boston College athletic director, said, according to Espn.

The agreement to part ways comes in wake of the Eagles first round loss in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament, according to Espn.

Skinner has the most wins in school history. He compiled a record of 247-165 over 13 seasons and led the Eagles to seven NCAA tournament births since 2001, according to The New York Times.

Analysis: obits

The obituary for Frank DiGangi, who was the former associate dean for the College of Pharmacy at the U, was like a regular obit story, but with a twist.

The reporter decided to not just lead into the obit with a standard obit lead. They decided to provided some background information about the deceased that might have been included in the chronology, which works really well. It is a way of adding to the story without making the actual chronology part too long. There is still the typical obit lead, but it's about five graph's in.

Colleagues and a family member of DiGangi were used as sources for the obit. They provided good commentary for DiGangi because they are the people that knew him the best.

An obit differs from a resume, in the sense that an obit is written about someone who is deceased. An obit has more of a narrative to the way it's read. A resume usually just has the important facts listed with really no connecting sentences.

Tattoo regulation

Rep. Julie Bunn, DFL St. Paul, recently authored a bill that would require body art establishments in the state to be regulated by the Minnesota Department of Health.

In the bill Bunn called for certain standards that must be met by the establishments. Sterilization for needles, gloves for the body artists and the correct metals for body art jewelry were some of the things mentioned, according to the Star Tribune.

If the bill is passed, then the Minnesota Department of Health would be responsible for licensing body art establishments, according to the Minnesota Daily.

The new legislation is mainly aimed towards creating consequences for establishments that don't adhere to regulations, according to the Daily.

"Rep. Bunn is willing to understand our industry," Jon Boy said, owner of Dinkytown Tattoo and a tattoo artist of nine years, according to the Daily.

The bill was reviewed Wednesday by a health and human services House committee. It was passed by two other panels earlier in the year, according to the Star Tribune.

St. Paul schools facing budget cuts

The St. Paul school board announced Tuesday that they will cut $33 million from their budget beginning next school year.

The announcement comes after board members were faced with fixing the current $27 million budget gap that the school district is facing, according to the Star Tribune.

Everything from closing buildings to shutting down 10 school pools was mentioned in the proposed plan. More than a third of the cuts would come from centrally administered programs and services, according to the Pioneer Press.

The recent deficit on enrollment that has resulted in reduced student aid and rising costs are some of the things that officials placing the blame on, which is a main reason why the school district is facing such a deficit, according to the Star Tribune.

More specifics about the proposed budget cuts will be mentioned at a board meeting on May 4, which will then be followed by a series of community meetings, according to the Pioneer Press.

Bin Laden will retaliate

Osama Bin Laden threatened Thursday to kill any American captives if the U.S. decides to execute one of the mastermind's of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Khalid Sheik Mohammed and four other plotters are expected to face trail for their part in the Sept. 11 attacks. The Obama administration is still considering whether to put the five on a military tribunal, or a civilian court, according to The New York Times.

If the U.S. decides to execute the five, then Bin Laden said he would return the favor, according to the BBC.

"The day the United States takes such a decision, it would be also taking the decision that any of you falling into our hands will be executed," Bin Laden said, according to the BBC.

Mohammed is currently detained at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He was charged with murder and war crimes that relate to the Sept. 11 attacks. U.S. officials are saying that they are going to recommend the death penalty once he goes to trial, according to The New York Times.

Tiger needs to open up

Arnold Palmer told reporters on Wednesday that Tiger Woods should be honest and let the nation know about his recent sex scandal.

Palmer considers opening up about the recent scandal is the first step to redemption for Woods, according to Espn.

"My opinion, as I said . . . I was going to keep to myself. But I suppose the best thing he could do would be open up and just let you guys shoot at him. And that's just my thought," Palmer said, according to USA Today.

Woods has only given two interviews since the Thanksgiving night car accident, which leaked surprising facts of his personal life, involving the sex scandal, according to USA Today.

It is highly unlikely that Woods is going to take Palmer's advice. The only time the two have spoke since Woods' incident was this past week when Woods told Palmer that he was not going to play in Palmer's Bay Hill Invitational, according to Espn.

Mid-major coach gets major deal

University of Northern Iowa's basketball coach Ben Jacobson received a new contract just a few days after the victory against Kansas.

After the upset win against the Jayhawks in the NCAA tournament this past weekend, the university decided to lock-up the coach through the year 2020. His existing contract only has him signed through 2016, according to USA Today.

The contract will pay Jacobson $450,000 each season with $25,000 increases as the years go on, according to Espn.

"I'm thrilled to sign this new deal," Jacobson said. "The University of Northern Iowa is a special place made so by great people," according to USA Today.

Police academy postponed

The St. Paul Police Department said Tuesday that the their police academy will be postponed until later this year.

The absence of the academy is due to not enough officers retiring, according to Sgt. Paul Schnell, a spokesman. The maximum number of officers allowed on the St. Paul police force is 610, with only five police officers retiring, the city realized that a small academy class would not be worth the cost, according to the Pioneer Press.

The move to postpone the academy will save the city $250,000, according to the Pioneer Press.

No decision has been made to hold the academy in the fall. Key factors in determining that answer is the amount of funding available and the amount of available jobs, according to the Star Tribune.

"It's too bad," said St. Paul City Council Member Dan Bostrom. "The way things have been going recently, it's the prudent thing to do," according to the Star Tribune.

Dolan receives second term

Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan was appointed to his second term by the city council Friday.

Council members voted 8 to 5 to reinstate Dolan. The decision to retain Dolan was much closer then when he was first voted in to become police chief in 2007, which was a 12 to 1 vote, according to the Star Tribune.

"I'm glad it's over," Dolan said. "I'm glad we can get back to business," according to the Star Tribune.

Critics of Dolan have accused him of spending too much money and lacking with police oversight, according to the Minnesota Daily.

Since Dolan has been Police Cheif crime rates in Minneapolis have gone down, according to the Minnesota Daily.

"We're not hearing those gunshots at night," Don Samuels said, a city councilmember. "We are absolutely grateful for the last three years on the North Side," according to the Star Tribune.

Russian billionaire wins libel suit

A Russian tycoon won libel suit against a Russian broadcast company, which accused him of being linked to the murder of a former Russian spy, in London Wednesday.

Boris A. Berezovsky was awarded the equivalent of around $225,000 in damages by London's High Court after winning a libel suit that he filed against the All-Russian State Television and Broadcasting, also known as RTR. Berezovsky brought the comapny to court after they had accused him of helping poison Alexander V. Litvinenko, a former K.G.B. operative, in 2006, according to The New York Times.

RTR broadcast a show in 2007 that linked Berezovsky to the murder of Litvinenko, without revealing the source of the information, according to The New York Times.

Judge David Eady concluded that there weren't enough pieces to the puzzle, "I can say unequivocally that there is no evidence before me that Mr Berezovsky had any part in the murder of Mr Litvinenko," Eady said, according to the BBC.

Berezovsky's victory is being disputed by RTR. The company claimed that they were not given a fair trial because of no jury being present and that their source needed to be revealed, according to The New York Times.

Berezovsky thought otherwise of the decision, "I am pleased that the court, through its judgement, has unequivocally demolished RTR's claims," he said, according to the BBC.

Woman indicted for suspected terrorism

A Pennsylvanian woman was indicted Tuesday on suspicion on having ties with terrorists in connection with an assassination attempt on a Swedish cartoonist.

Colleen R. LaRose is suspected of plotting an assassination attempt with seven other conspirators against Lars Vilks, a Swedish cartoonist, according to The New York Times.

Police charged LaRose with conspiring with jihadist fighters and pledging to commit murder in the name of a Muslim holy war, according to USA Today.

LaRose, 46, is expected to appear in court March. 18 for her indictment hearing, according to USA Today.

"It shatters any lingering thought that we can spot a terrorist based on appearance," Micheal L. Leavy, the United States attorney for Eastern Pennsylvania, said, according to The New York Times.

LaRose will be joining just a handful of U.S. women who have ever been charged with terrorism, the Justice Department said, according to USA Today.


Roethlisberger claims innocence

An attorney for Pittsburgh Steeler's quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said that he is innocent of being accused of sexual assault that allegedly happened at a Georgia nightclub over the weekend.

A 20-year-old student at Georgia College and State University alleges that she was sexually assaulted by Roethlisberger early Friday, though no charges have been filed yet, according to Espn.

Police say that they are preforming an investigation into the matter, and they will release all of the facts once the process is complete, according to USA Today.

"The facts show that there was no criminal activity. No sexual assault occurred," attorney Ed Garland said on Monday, according to Espn.

Roethlisberger is also being sued by a woman accusing him of rape stemming from an alleged incident at Lake Tahoe in 2008, which he strongly denies, according to USA Today.


Analysis: Speeches/meetings

The statement released by the White House President Obama about President Obama's thoughts on the elections in Iraq were used as "bookends" for the news report in The Wall Street Journal.

Kathy Chen decided to use key quotes from Obama's statement to help start and end her story about the recent Iraqi elections. She used the middle of her report to provide background information about the elections.

The information the Chen wanted the reader to know was that Obama had the utmost respect for the people of Iraq that went out and voted.

Though the main focus of her story was to let the readers know that Obama was happy about the turn-out of the elections, most of the information provided in the report was focused on background information surrounding the entire elections.

It made sense to do that, since the statement was short. The story made sense and readers get a something that is short and sweet.

Ex-inmate dies from frostbite

A Minnesota man, who is suing the Ramsey Country and New Brighton Police Department for failure to give care to his frostbite injuries, died earlier last week.

Patrick Uzalac died Wednesday at his sister's home in Iowa from natural causes, according to the Star Tribune.

Urzalac, 43, filed a lawsuit against both police departments last week, due to failure of providing care to frostbites on his feet that he suffered after locking his keys out of his apartment in January, according to the Star Tribune.

When the police found Urzalac outside of his apartment, they realized that he had an outstanding warrant and arrested him. Urzalac asked for medical attention to his feet, while in custody, but the jailers ignored his request, Urzalac's lawyer Robert Hajek said, according to the Pioneer Press.

The Ramsey County Sheriff's Office claims that Urzalac received medical treatment, while in custody, according to the Pioneer Press.

U of M won't elevate lawsuit

The University of Minnesota decided on Monday to not raise their lawsuit, over a proposed light-right train system, against the Metropolitan Council to the federal level.

After 2 hours of decision making university officials decided not to sue the Met Council in federal court over the Central Corridor light-rail line, according to the Star Tribune.

Last September the university filed a lawsuit against the Met Council at a district court in Hennepin County over the fact the Central Corridor line, which will run right by certain campus research facilities. University officials are claiming that the vibrations and electromagnetic fields that are caused by a light-rail train can damage the sensitive research equipment in the facilities, according to the Pioneer Press.

Both sides are expected to enter "lockdown" negotiations sometime in the near future. The goal for the negotiations is for the university to withdraw their current lawsuit, according to the Pioneer Press.

"Given the distance we've come, these last steps seem within our powers," University of Minnesota President Robert Bruininks said, according to the Star Tribune.

Mail might get the weekend off

The U.S. Postal Service announced on Monday that they are going try to to reduce the mail delivery days from six days to five days a week, cutting out Saturday.

The proposal was announced, due to the recent financial troubles that the Postal Service has gone through. Since 2007, the Postal Service has lost money every year because of the economic downfall that the nation has faced, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Post Master General John Potter will submit the proposal to the Postal Regulatory Commission by the end of the month to seek approval to reduce the mail delivery days starting in 2011, according to USA Today.

If the proposal is approved, the Postal Service will save $3 billion a year, according to The Wall Street Journal.

"We can right this ship," Potter said to reporters on Monday, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Uganda lanslides kill over 100

Recent heavy rains caused landslides in Bududa, Uganda, which have killed over 100 people.

Minister for Disaster Preparedness Musa Ecweru sent the Ugandan army to the Bududa region to help with rescue efforts, according to The New York Times.

Ecweru was informed that the latest death-toll was 106 people, with over 300 still missing. The Ugandan government has provided 100 coffins, so that the deceased can be given a decent burial, according to the BBC.

This is nothing new to the Bududa region, where landslides are common to the area. What's new is that Bududa rarely sees a fatality rate this high caused by landslides, according to The New York Times.

There is no end in sight. Ugandan officials reported at least another month of rain, which means things will get worse before they start getting better, according to the BBC.

Shaq out for two months

Cleveland Cavilers center Shaquille O'Neal had surgery on his right thumb and is likely to miss the rest of the regular season.

O'Neal met with Dr. Thomas Graham of the National Hand Center in Baltimore on Sunday, where Graham performed the surgery the following day, according to The New York Times.

The veteran center is expected to be out about eight weeks, which puts him in jeopardy to miss the beginning of the playoffs, according to Espn.

O'Neal has been averaging 12 points and 6.7 rebounds per game in 53 games this season, and is considered a major role within the Cavilers' scheme, according to Espn.

On his Twitter page, O'Neal gave the fans some hope regarding when he returns to the court,''Will be out for a min but when I return it is on,'' O'Neal said, according to The New York Times.

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