December 15, 2008

Greek Riots Spread Through Europe

The riots in Greece over the past 7 days have spread through Europe into France, Denmark and Spain, according to CBS News. The riots, fueled by economic hardship and ultimately sparked after police killed a 15-year-old boy last Saturday, have been violent with attacks on police vehicles, businesses and banks, according to CBS.
"It is clear that this wave of discontent will not die down. This rage is spreading because the underlying causes remain," veteran left-wing politician Leonidas Kyrkos told ABC News. "These protests are a vehicle with which people can claim their rights and shatter indifference and false promises."
While violence has slowly died in Athens, ABC News reports that tear gas and smoke from buring cars and structures lingers in the air.
CBS News reported that in Spain, separate demonstrations of about 200 people each attacked banks and businesses. In France, cars have been set on fire outside of state buildings.

Still No Power for a Frozen New England

CNN reported that at least 800,000 customers in the New England area are still without power after an ice storm hit the region. CNN also reported that President Bush has declaired a state of emergency in the area, with the hopes that power will be restored soon.
Officials told MSNBC that power to customers in New Hampshire may not be restored until Thursday or Friday.
MSNBC also reported that at least 4 people have died as a result of the storm, 3 from monoxide poisoning caused by running generators, and the fourth died after falling into a frozen lake while trying to clear tree limbs that had been downed by the ice.
Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency spokesman Peter Judge told CNN that the problems crews are facing are a result of debris from the storm.
"The problem is there is so much debris on the roads from the storm [that] our crews cannot get to some places," Judge said.

December 14, 2008

Franken Vows to Withdraw Challenged Ballots

Just a day after Al Franken's challenge to have 1,500 absentee ballots included in the current Senate race recount, his camp announced that they would withdraw some of their ballot challenges, according to the Pioneer Press.
The La Crosse Tribune reported that Sen. Norm Coleman has a 188-vote lead over Franken. The two candidates had challenged a combined 6,655 ballots, according to the Pioneer Press.
The Pioneer Press reported that the decision to withdraw the votes, a total of 3,400 from Franken's campaign alone, came from advice given by the state Canvassing Board.

December 1, 2008

Wisconsin Dell's Popular Lake to be Refilled

Popular tourist spot Lake Delton in Wisconsin Dells is set to be refilled after heavy rains and flooding last summer caused a dam to break and the lake to rush out, destroying a highway and several lakeside homes, according to the La Crosse Tribune.
"We cannot wait," 49-year-old Dawn Baker, co-owner of the Sunset Bay Resort on Lake Delton, told the Pioneer Press. "It was sad. It was hard every day just looking at our beautiful lake being gone, having to explain to people over and over that yes, they're going to fill it next summer. It's going to be fine."
State officials have spent $5.1 million fixing the damage caused by the summer floods, according to the Pioneer Press, and also repaved the highway, which opened a few weeks ago.
Officials also said they plan to close the Mirror Lake dam, which feeds into Lake Delton, in hopes of trapping carp in pools in order to kill them and introduce new species to the lake this summer, according to the La Crosse Tribune. The refill may begin as early as this week officials told the Pioneer Press.

Wal-Mart Employee Killed During Black Friday Stampeed

A Wal-mart employee in Valley Stream, NY, was killed Friday morning after a crowed of shoppers burst through the doors and trampled the man to death, according to MSNBC.
Jdimytai Damour, 34, of Queens was attempting to unlock the front doors when impatient customers burst through the barriers the store had set up, crushing Damour, according to CBS News.
"This crowd was out of control," Detective Lt. Michael Fleming, a Nassau County police spokesman told MSNBC.
Other employees told CNN that when shoppers were told that the store would be closing due to the death, shoppers became irate, screaming that they had been waiting in line for hours to shop for the traditional 'Black Friday" deals.
Police are currently reviewing surveillance tapes in an attempt to identify the shoppers involved in Damour's death. Criminal charges may be possible, but identifying suspects from the tape may be difficult due to the huge number of shoppers and how quickly the event took place, according to MSNBC.

Dozens of Stranded Whales Die in Southern Australia

MSNBC reported Saturday that 80 pilot whales died after being battered on the rocky coast of Sandy Cape in southern Australia.
"Because of the physical beating they take from stranding on rocks and surf, compared to sandy beach strandings, animals die more quickly," Rosemary Gales, a wildlife services spokeswoman told MSNBC.
CNN reported that nearly 150 whales died in total. CNN also reported that wildlife service workers were able to steer nearly 30 whales away from the same rocky beach where the first wave of whales died.
Warwick Brennan, another spokesman for the wildlife service that attempted to save the whales, told MSNBC that he believed that other whales may have been responding to the distress calls of the stranded pod, stranding themselves in the process.

November 22, 2008

Carter, Annan Denied Visas to Enter Zimbabwe

Former U.N. chief Kofi Annan and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter were denied access to Zimbabwe this week as the group had hoped to assess the economic and living situations of Zimbabwe citizens in the hopes of devising an aid plan, according to CNN.
“It seems obvious to me that leaders of the government are immune to reaching out for help for their own people,? Mr. Carter said at a news conference in Johannesburg, reported the New York Times.
Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe insists that his government is aware of the issues facing its citizens and will address them on its own according to CNN.
"The government takes strong exception ... to any suggestions that there are those that care more about the welfare of our people than we do," said Foreign Affairs Minister for Zimbabwe Simbarashe Mumbengegwi.
“We want the people of Zimbabwe to know we care and we support them,? Nelson Mandela's wife Graça Machel, an advocate for women and children and a member of the Carter group told the New York Times.

Judge Orders Parents to Leave Religious Sect to Get Children Back

Jim Hudson a circuit judge in Miller County, Ark. told the parents of two teenage girls who were removed from a religious compound led by Tony Alamo back in September that if they wanted to get their children back, they would be forced to move off of the Alamo compound and quit working for his church, ABC News reported. The girls, along with nearly 20 other children were removed from the compound back in September under suspicions that they were being physically and sexually abused.
"I am not trying to infringe on their religious practices, only the practices that were found to be neglectful or abuse," Hudson told ABC News.
One of the girls testified this week that Alamo, who is set to stand trial in February for abuse, not only sexually assaulted her, but coached her and others to say that they were not abused, threatening to beat them if they told anyone, MSNBC reported.
"The information that we presented to the court included allegations of abuse and neglect on all of the children, not exclusive to certain children," Department of Human Services spokeswoman Julie Munsell told MSNBC.
If the girls are released back to their parents, there will be a hearing every 90 days to make sure that the couple is complying with the judge's orders, according to ABC News.

15-year-old Jacob MacKenzie of St. Paul was killed early Sunday morning when an AK-47 misfired, striking him in the head, according to the Pioneer Press.
Alfredo Gutierrez-Gonzales, 19, also of St. Paul, was attempting to load a magazine clip into his AK-47 when it suddenly fired, killing MacKenzie immediately, according to police reports. Gutierrez-Gonzales told police he had received text messages from friends at the house where the incident took place that said they were fearful the house would be the target of a drive-by shooting, reported the Star Tribune. After the incident, Gutierrez-Gonzales fled the premises, but turned himself in Thursday after a public plea by his girlfriend, Jayna Emerson, according to the Pioneer Press.
A witness, identified by police as J.A.E., told police that Gutierrez-Gonzales was having difficulty loading the weapon, and that he also tried to load the magazine clip but was unable to because "the frame of the gun was messed up or bent," reported the Star Tribune.
The Star Tribune reported that Gutierrez-Gonzales has been charged with second-degree manslaughter and illegal possession of a firearm. The Pioneer Press reported that bail for Gutierrez-Gonzales was set for $250,000.
"I hope he gets everything coming to him," Michelle Olson, MacKenzie's mother, told the Pioneer Press. "He killed my son, and I can never get him back."


November 17, 2008

Obama Plans to Close Guantanamo Bay

CBS News reported that President-elect Obama plans to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and that his administrators are considering other U.S. prisons to move the detainees to.
According to reports by MSNBC, the President-elect is also considering constructing a new system which would allow the detainees to be tried in the U.S. civil courts as opposed to military tribunals.
Several facilities are being considered as possible locations for new detainee prisons, including the Navy base at Charleston, S.C., and Camp Pendleton, Calif., according to CBS News.
Current Bush administrators have criticized the plan and expressed concern over the feasibility of transfering the nearly 250 detainees currently being held at Guantanamo Bay, according to MSNBC.
"It would be a stunning disappointment if one of the new administration's first priorities is to give foreign terror suspects captured on the battlefield the same legal rights and protections as American citizens accused of crimes," Senate Judiciary Committee member John Cornyn told MSNBC.

November 16, 2008

U Regents Consider Whether to Sell Alcohol on Campus

The Minnesota Daily reported that the University Regents were considering selling alcohol at several on-campus locations, including Mariucci Arena , Williams Arena, University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, and the new football stadium.
“Nothing [alcoholic] would ever be available to the general population in our buildings,? Craig Flor, the the assistant program director for Intercollegiate Athletics told the Daily.
The La Crosse Tribune reported that alcohol would only be available to those in expensive club seats or private boxes. University spokesman Dan Wolter told the Tribune that one reason for the limited sales is that many underage students attend university sporting events.
The Daily reported that beer and wine are often given away in the private boxes and rooms, and allowing for it to be sold would help the University recoup some of its losses from those who take advantage of the open bar.


Iraqi Government Sets U.S. Troop Withdrawl Date

The Iraqi Cabinet passed a security pact Sunday that set solid deadlines for U.S. troop withdrawal and removal from the nation, according to ABC News.
ABC News reported that the pact stipulates that all U.S. troops must withdraw from all Iraqi cities and towns by June 30, 2009, with a full withdrawal of troops from the country by Dec. 31, 2011.
CBS News reported that the 37-member Iraqi Cabinet reached the agreement after months of deliberation on the subject. The agreement prohibits the U.S. from using Iraqi territory to carry out attacks on surrounding nations, according to CBS.
"The American side assures us that the newly elected president will comply with what both sides agreed upon," Iraqi press spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh told ABC News.
ABC News reported that Iraqi reactions to the agreement were mixed.
"By the will of God, the security pact will be signed in the very near future and Iraq will begin a new phase of reconstruction and stability, and I bless the efforts of the government in having the best draft agreement," wrote a commenter using the name Mohammed al-Iraqi.
Within hours of the pact being signed, Iraqi websites were overloaded with comments, according to ABC News.

November 9, 2008

Bail Set For Those Involved in Murder of Andover Man

Bail has been set for at least two of the three people suspected of killing Edwin Hawes of Andover last week reported the Pioneer Press.
Elizabeth Hawes, 43, her brother Andrew Hawes, 36, and his girlfriend Kristina Dorniden, 29, have all been charged with murdering Edwin Hawes over what authorities are calling a financial feud the Star Tribune reported. Elizabeth Hawes' bail has been set at $1 million, and Dorniden's bail has been set at $500,000. All three have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder according to the Star Tribune. Bail will be set later this week for Andrew Hawes.
The body of Edwin Hawes was discovered Friday burning in a fire pit in Westbrook, and had to be identified by dental records, reported the Pioneer Press. If convicted, all three could each face up to 40 years in prison the Pioneer Press reported.

Russian Sub Accident Kills 20

A malfunction in a brand new Russian nuclear submarine's fire extinguishing system released Freon gas, suffocating 20 people Saturday, most of whom were ship builders on board to carry out tests, according to CBS News.
The attack submarine, called the Nerpa, was running tests in the Sea of Japan when the accident occurred, the New York Times reported. Igor Dygalo, a Navy spokesman, said the sub's reactor was not damaged. The submarine was scheduled to be commissioned by the Russian Navy sometime this year, according to the New York Times.
Chemical expert Lev Fyodorov told CBS News that the scarce information he has received has made it difficult to investigate what happened. He also said he was unsure as to why those affected did not activate the breathing kits they were said to have had.
Russian President Dmitri A. Medvedev has ordered a full investigation of the incident according to the Times.

8-Year-Old Faces Murder Charges

An 8-year-old Arizona boy is facing two counts of premeditated murder after confessing to shooting his father and a man renting a room in the family's St. Johns home, according to ABC News.
The boy, whose name has not been released to the media, confessed to St. Johns Police Chief Roy Melnick that he killed his father, 29-year-old Vincent Romero, and 39-year-old Timothy Romans, with a .22 -caliber rifle that the boy's father had recently taught him to use reported MSNBC.
"He wanted to make sure the kid wasn't afraid of guns, knew how to handle it," said Romero's priest, Rev. John Paul Sauter. Sauter went on to say that Romero wanted his son to be a hunter and had recently asked him for advice as to whether or not he should teach the boy to use the weapon, MSNBC reported.
Melnick said that police would investigate possible child abuse as the motive for the killings.
"I'm not accusing anybody of anything at this point," Melnick told ABC News Saturday. "But we're certainly going to look at the abuse part of this. He's 8 years old. He just doesn't decide one day that he's going to shoot his father and shoot his father's friend for no reason. Something led up to this."
Melnick told MSNBC that police want the boy to be tried as an adult, even while they investigate possible abuse. If convicted, the boy would be sent to a juvenile detention center until he was 18 year old, according to ABC news.
Sauter expressed to MSNBC that he had concerns about the child using firearms at such an early age.
"He was just too young," Sauter said, "That child, I don't think he knows what he did, and it was brutal."


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