March 2012 Archives

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Giambattista Valli: A New Couturier

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Fashion designer Giambattista Valli was dubbed an official haute couturier by the Chambre Syndicale last December.

Valli began his namesake label in 2005 after leaving his 7-year-long occupation at Emanuel Ungaro in 2004, as reported by the New York Times. His designs at Giambattista Valli have garnered the attention of fashion editors, heiresses and socialites alike, such as Olivia Palermo, Bianca Brandolini, and Lee Radziwill. Actress Emma Stone sported one of his dresses at the Academy Awards this year.

Valli grew up in Rome with his family. According to Wikipedia, he drew sketches of Yves Saint Laurent dresses and observed the fashions of rich women as he matured, and he eventually got his first fashion-related job at with Cecilia Fanfani where he assisted with planning couture shows in Rome.

Valli reported to the New York Times that he derives inspiration from American designer Oscar de la Renta. This label is known for catering to "uptown girls" and moneyed socialites.

Some of Valli's creations retail for around $3000 at upscale department store Saks Fifth Avenue.

Man Publicly Exposes Himself to Law Student

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The Star Tribune reports that 70-year-old attorney Clark Griffith was charged for exposing himself to a 24-year-old female student.

Griffith was an adjunct professor at the William Mitchell College of Law, having resigned since the event of exposure. He had been communicating with the female student for a one-on-one clinic in which she had requested that he participate.

The student described herself as having to touch him with his pants down "while people were driving by and walking their dog behind the car." The ex-professor reportedly texted her, requesting she address her grievances directly to him and refrain from reporting the incident to authorities. He expressed distress that the incident would ruin his life.

According to the Star Tribune, the student reported the situation to the law school administrators the following day.

Clark Griffith's father was the owner of the Minnesota Twins until 1984. According to the CCGPA, Griffith is also Chairman of the Sports Law Division of the American Bar Association Sports and Entertainment Law Forum, as well as Vice Chairman of the National Sports Law Institute at Marquette University.

CCGPA reports that Griffith earned a History degree at Dartmouth College. He earned is doctorate at William Mitchell College of Law.

Griffith was reported to have said in a text message to the student, "now I risk life, marriage, career and reputation. ..."

Griffith will make a court appearance in June.

Obituary: Rev. Curtis Herron (1932-2012)

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According to the Star Tribune, the Rev. Curtis Herron of Zion Baptist Church died on March 18 at age 80. Herron led Zion Baptist Church, a black congregation, for 40 years.

The Star Tribune reports that the reverend was born in Kansas and attended the University of Kansas and Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo. He joined the Zion Baptist Church and began speaking to the congregation in 1970. The Zion Baptist Church, according to the Star Tribune, is one of the biggest black congregations in Minneapolis.

The reverend was an activist on behalf of political, racial, economic and religious issues. Many years ago he wrote in the Star Tribune about racial issues and low-income housing in the twin cities. Herron even participated in protests, such as a protest in 1999 against the tear-down of Minneapolis public housing. He was arrested for his protesting, but former mayor Sharon Sayles Belton dismissed the charges.

Herron's son Brian acts as the late reverend's successor at Zion Baptist Church. Herron is survived by his wife and three daughters, in addition to Brian.

Tiger Woods Makes a Turnaround

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According to CNN, Tiger Woods won his first PGA tournament since 2009 today.

Woods suffered an injury to his achilles tendon at the Cadillac Championship Sunday, March 11, 2012. He experienced an achilles injury to the same foot at the August National tournament last year, as mentioned in a Huffington Post article.

In addition to injury worries plaguing Woods' public image, the 37-year-old had been in the news in 2009 for having several extra-marital affairs, according to

In 2009, Woods issued a statement of regret for his sexual encounters, saying that he will "strive to be a better person and the husband and father that [his] family deserves," according to CBS News.

CNN reports that Woods expressed confidence in his performance and quelled worries about his achilles tendon. He said he was "excited" for the upcoming Masters tournament in Augusta, Georgia.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

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President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad faces massive opposition in upcoming parliamentary elections.

A conservative religious reformist, Ahmadinejad became president of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 2005. According to a Guardian article, Iranian citizens protested Ahmadinejad's 2009 re-election due to suspicion that it was rigged: according to the Times, Ahmadinejad's opponent, Mir Hussein Moussavi, had been in the voting lead but a few days before the election results were finalized. According to the article, protesters even used "dictator" to describe Ahmadinejad.

Ahmadinejad's religious views have played a significant role in his life and career. An article by states that Ahmadinejad joined Islamic Revolution's Guards Corps (IRGC) in 1986, during the Iraq War. He also became a member of the Islamic Revolution Devotees' Society. According to, once appointed Mayor in 2003, Ahmadinejad made policies that focused on religious rules, such as separating men and women dress code regulation and closing of businesses during religious holidays. Ahmadinejad practices Shi'ism, a belief system that Ayatollah Khomeini banned in the '80s.

Ahmadinejad was recently summoned by the Iranian parliament to answer questions and criticisms about his economic, foreign and domestic policies. This summoning was not previously supported by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, but in recent, according to CNN, the Ayatollah and the president have been "at odds." According to the Washington Times, Ahmadinejad refused Khameni's request for him to reinstate an intelligence minister he had fired in 2011. The Ayatollah has the final say in policies of the state, so for the president to defy him is unheard of. The Washington Times reports that Ahmadinejad is the first Iranian president to be summoned by the parliament for questioning.

$450 Million Lawsuit Against Alexander Wang

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Alexander Wang ex-employee Wenyu Lu accused fashion designer Alexander Wang of employing workers in sweatshop conditions. Lu requested the lawsuit after being fired in February for complaining about the brand's working conditions.

According to and the, Lu said he underwent surgery for the removal of kidney stones and suffered an eye injury two years ago; he said that he believed the health issues were spurned by 84-hour work weeks.

New York Magazine reports that Lu was hospitalized after passing out during a 25-hour-long shift. Lu said that he was not allowed a break during the 25-hour-long period, and that he would be fired should he take one.

According to the Telegraph, thirty Alexander Wang employees have joined Wenyu Lu's claim against Wang, filing a $450 million lawsuit for nine charges related to poor working conditions.

In the report issued by the Telegraph, one of Wang's spokespeople commented in defense of Wang's brand, stating that "the company takes its obligations to comply with the law very seriously [...]."

Yahoo Sports News reported that Benilde-St. Margaret's high schooler Jack Jablonski was not allowed to join his teammates in celebration on the ice after they won their state title Monday.

Jablonski was paralyzed by a blow from behind during a game this past winter. He was hospitalized after the blow, and had his halo removed today, according to

According to Yahoo Sports News, a few days before the Monday game Jablonski had been allowed on the ice to receive a first-place medal when his team won the sectional title. Jablonski's name wasn't on the team roster for the state game, said Executive Director Dave Stead, thus he was not technically eligible to accept the medal with the team.

According to, Jablonski took the state trophy home and was told by Benilde-St. Margaret's coach Ken Pauly that he would also receive a medal soon.

Michael Brodkorb, a former Minnesota state senate staffer, confessed Wednesday, March 14, to having an affair with senator Amy Koch. The affair had been under suspicion of the senate since December 2011. Brodkorb worked as Koch's communications chief.

On December 16, the Senate fired Brodkorb after it forced Koch to resign her position as senator on the 15th. Myfoxtwincities reports that Koch admitted to having an affair with an "unnamed staffer" after being confronted by the MNGOP.

In December prior to her statement about the affair, Koch said she left because she was not planning to run for state senate again.

According to the City Pages article, Senate Majority Leader Geoff Michel stated that the relationship was unacceptable because Koch's position in the senate was managerial to Brodkorb's. The affair was labeled as a "conflict of interest."

According to MSNBC News, the sea level has increased by 8 inches since 1880. This seemingly incremental amount has already taken a toll on the coastlines of the United States, particularly in low-lying coastal areas such as Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, Virginia, California and New York.

According to the New York Times, scientists expect ocean levels to rise at about a foot per century, possibly accelerating, should the rate of global warming continue at its current pace.

Billions of dollars in both public and private land and property funds have already been lost, thanks to storm surge damage, relocation of sewage plants, and efforts to replenish sand on eroded beaches, as told by the New York Times.

The Times makes it clear that money is not the only issue: as ocean levels continue to rise incrementally, coastal areas will eventually become uninhabitable for 3.7 million people in the United States.

Instead of focusing on insurance planning and allocation of taxpayers' money, the Times reports that coastal scientists have urged politicians to organize "orderly retreat" from the areas of flood danger throughout the United States. However, the states in danger have yet to engage in significant measures to protect citizens against the potential consequences of the rising sea level.

Kony Video Could Re-Ignite Issues in Uganda

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GULU, Uganda -- A campaigning group called "Invisible Children" has caught the attention of millions. According to The Guardian, the group, instigated in 2004 by filmmakers, released a 30-minute video in March 2012 to raise awareness about the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army, Joseph Kony. The video went viral upon its release on YouTube.

According to Luna Magazine and MSNBC, in 2005 the International Crimes Court indicted Kony for his activities in Uganda, including sexual enslavement, murder, rape and crimes against humanity, as well as building an army of child soldiers.

According to MSNBC, the last massacre to occur in Gulu, Uganda, was in 2004. According to both MSNBC and Luna Magazine, some Ugandans have expressed concern that bringing attention to this 9-year-old conflict may inflame LRA activity in the region.

A Yale Professor, Chris Blattman, expressed concern that an attempt by Invisible Children to remove Kony from power would result in mass killings of the people that the organization is seeking to protect. As quoted in Luna Magazine, "Kony usually prefers a bodyguard of 13-year olds, since he doesn't trust anyone older," Blattman said. I'm not sure if there are many children with him now [...] but either way it will be messy."

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This page is an archive of entries from March 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

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