March 2010 Archives

Gophers get NCAA bid

Big wins over Michigan State and Purdue got Minnesota into the NCAA men's basketball tournament with disregards to today's loss to Ohio State.

The Star Tribune reported that this is the first time in 15 years that the Gophers have made the NCAA tournament two straight seasons. They lost in the first round last year to Texas.

The Gopher's will play No. 6 Xavier on Friday in Milwaukee in the West region.

Minnesota and Xavier played three times in the 1950s, with Minnesota winning all of those games. Xavier is the champion of the Atlantic 10 Conference. Xavier reached the NCAA tournament for the fifth straight year and the ninth time in 10 years as reported by the Star Tribune.

Gopher's coach Tubby Smith reported to the Associated Press:

"I thought we'd do it in one year," Smith said. "I was disappointed we didn't do it last year. I thought last year's team, we let some games slip away that we should have won."

Several families at Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy (TiZA) want to intervene with a lawsuit involving the Inver Grove Heights school and the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota.

As reported by the Pioneer Press the students, who attend Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy, say their democratic and legal rights will be violated if the school cannot offer religious accommodations, such as pork-alternative food, prayer time, a dress code and no school on Islamic holidays.

The ACLU argued that the TiZA school is crossing the lines between public education and religion by allowing accommodations for the religious practices of the Muslim students.

The Star Tribune reported that In court documents, parents said they send their children to the school for a quality education, not religion, but still want their families' religious needs to be met. The school is a "safe, non-sectarian, cultural learning environment for immigrant families" and should not be closed, they said.

Court documents for the motion stated: "Basically, TiZA is being sued for the Muslim-ness of its students. The MnACLU would not have a problem with TiZA if there weren't Muslim students at TiZA because then there would not be these accommodations."

Several said they were unhappy because, in response to a state investigation, the school has reduced the time set aside on Fridays for Muslim students to pray, from 30 minutes to 10 minutes as reported by the Star Tribune.

"The ACLU lawsuit threatens more reductions," said Javed Mohammad, who has two sons at TiZA, in a court document.


Japanese coast guard arrests Sea Shepherd activist

An activist from New Zealand was arrested Friday by the Japanese coast guard after he boarded a Japanese whaling ship last month.

Peter Bethune, member of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, boarded the whaling ship without permission intending to make a citizen arrest of the Japanese crew.

As reported by The New York Times and BBC news, a crew of Japanese photographers and reporters waited at the dock in Toyko for Bethune's arrival.

BBC news reported that after the Shonan Maru 2 docked, Japanese coastguard officials went on board and arrested him.

Hirotaka Akamatsu, the Japanese fisheries minister, told New York Times reporters that Mr. Bethune's actions were "outrageously illegal behavior."

"We want to deal with it strictly," he said.

Mr. Bethune's arrest was top news in Japan, where Sea Shepherd's efforts to obstruct whaling ships receive wide publicity, none of it positive. While few Japanese eat whale, public opinion is generally sympathetic to the government's claims that whaling is part of Japanese culture.

ABC News reported that Paul Watson, captain of the Steve Irwin vessel, says the group has had no contact with Mr Bethune but they expect his arrest will lend greater support to their cause.

"I think that this whole thing is going to make Peter Bethune an international hero, certainly a national hero in New Zealand," he said.

"And I think with Peter Bethune they've got themselves a hot potato that they're probably going to want to let go of pretty soon."

Woman brutally beaten in bathroom of NYC bar

A woman was brutally beaten in the bathroom stall of a New York City bar early Thursday morning after rejecting a man's advances.

The New York Times reported that the man burst through a stall door and began savagely attacking the woman, beating her as he tried to remove her pants. She fought back, and was able to avoid being sexually assaulted-- but not before the man broke her nose and one of her eye sockets, leaving her unconscious and sprawled in a pool of blood.

The victim was found by her friend who assumed that she had just fallen, and had the bartender to go across the street to a firehouse to get help.

Later when the victim regained consciousness, she told staff at New York Presbyterian Hospital/ Weill Cornell Medical Center that she had been attacked as reported by NBC New York.

Demetrios Haas, 69, owner of a neighbor bar saw an assembly of news media. He reported to the New York Times, "I'm surprised this happened here", Haas said. "I've been here for 22 years. This neighborhood made a very big improvement from what is used to be like, but lately there's been a decline. A week ago a kid got slashed after school right her on Eighth Avenue, and now this. It's not good for the tourists, and my business is already down with this economy."

The Star Tribune reported that a police security camera near the bar's entrance captured images of the man afterward walking down the sidewalk and looking at his hand -- an indication it might have been injured during the attack. The department released the footage on Thursday in hopes of identifying him.

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