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January 2013 Archives

Chicago teen who performed at inauguration shot and killed

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A Chicago teen who recently performed with her high school's band and drill team at President Obama's inauguration was fatally shot Tuesday, USA Today reports.

Hadiya Pendleton, 15, was with her friends at a park just 1 mile away from President Obama's Chicago residence when an unidentified gunman jumped a fence and ran at the group while firing his weapon. Pendleton, along with two of her friends, were shot before the gunman left the scene in a car.

It is believed that the gunman fired at the teens thinking they were members of a rival gang Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said at a press conference Wednesday. Community groups are offering $11,000 to anyone who has information about the gunman's identity,

News of the shooting reached to Washington D.C., where gun control advocates including Illinois Senator Richard Durbin brought up Pendleton's story as a call to action against rising gun violence.

Pendleton is remembered as a "generous" girl with a bright smile, who was inspired by her trip to the inauguration and Obama's similar roots as an African American from Chicago, the New York Times reports. Obama spokesman Jay Carney responded to the shooting, calling it a "terrible tragedy."

Pendleton's death is the forty second reported homicide in Chicago this year, following five hundred in 2012, the most in the city since 2002.

A member of the Maple Grove city council has been charged with perjury and financial exploitation of her elderly father shortly before his death last year, MPR News reports.

According to the Hennepin County Attorney's Office, councilwoman Leann Sargent had the power of attorney and control of her father's finances, which helped her take more than $153,000 from his bank accounts and credit cards between 2008 and his death in early 2012.

Sargent, who lied under oath about the amount of money she was receiving from her father, filed for bankruptcy and failed to report the source of her added income, CBS Minnesota said.

Sargent's brother became suspicious about her activity when their father died with less than $400 in his bank accounts. Prosecutors believe Sargent took the money in order to keep her brother from inheriting any of it.

She has been charged with two counts of perjury and two counts of exploiting a vulnerable adult, and if convicted will likely be sentenced to probation.


Iran Successfully Sends Monkey into Orbit

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Iran succeeded in sending a monkey into space on Monday, BBC News reports. The launch, considered by many to be one of the final steps before a manned space mission, marks a milestone in Iran's space program. The country aims to send a man into space by 2019, the BBC said.

While the monkey's safe return to Earth signifies that Iran's space program is headed in the right direction for human flight, experts disagree on the real significance of the launch.

"A slight monkey on a suborbital flight is nothing to get too excited about," said George Washington University space policy professor John Logsden in a report from Time. "They already had the capability to launch warheads in their region."

While Iran says their space program is meant for "peaceful purposes," this launch still violates the U.N. Security Council's ruling that Iran is forbidden from any ballistic missile activity.

While the U.S. has expressed concern over the launch, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said there is no way to confirm the monkey's journey was successful, according to Time.

Iran's state TV broadcast images of the monkey, wearing a small flight suit and strapped into a safety seat, being prepped for flight. Iranian state TV reports that the country plans on sending a larger animal into orbit for further safety tests before proceeding with a manned flight, Time said.

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