April 25, 2007

Boy Nearly Dies After Becoming Tangled by a Swinget Rope

A 5-year-old Austin, Minn., boy was in fair condition Tuesday after surviving an entanglement with a swingset rope.

Lane Meyer’s heart stopped after the near-fatal occurrence three days ago. The boy’s 10-year-old brother Riley noticed Lane was in trouble and ran to tell their mother.

Donald Meyer, Lane’s father, and a community service officer, Ernesto Cantu, preformed compressions and rescue breaths on the boy until his heart started beating, reports the Star Tribune.

Lane was taken to St. Marys Hospital in Rochester, according to the Associated Press.

April 24, 2007

A Minor is Arrested in St. Paul Bus Killing

A 17-year-old was arrested Sunday on charges of homicide occurring on a route 74 bus in downtown St. Paul.

The family of Jerome Pablo Cross doesn’t believe the allegations. According to the Pioneer Press, James Cross said he last saw his son talking to friends outside the family's home about 11:45 p.m. Saturday. The killing occurred early Sunday morning, officials said.

Earl Freeman, the 16-year-old victim, was apparently not a random target, according to the Star Tribune.

St. Paul police are convinced that Jerome committed the act of murder.

"It's very clear from the photos that we have the right person," said St. Paul police spokesman Tom Walsh.

Two Dogs Brutally Attack Woman

Two pit bulls attacked a 59-year-old woman Monday, leaving mauled arms and legs and a forearm in need of a skin graft.

Joann Jungmann was delivering court papers in St. Paul’s East Side when she walked into the view of two canines. According to the Pioneer Press, the pit bulls jumped a 3-foot-high chain-link fence gate and chased Jungmann to her car.

Just before she reached her car, the canines dragged her to the ground biting her. Jungmann was taken to Regions Hospital after the dogs were scared away. She was in good condition Monday night.

According to the Star Tribune, the St. Paul Animal Control is expected to rule the dogs as dangerous and destroyed.

Wiccan Symbol Use on Military Headstones is Approved

The Bush administration agreed Monday to allow the Wiccan pentacle - a five-pointed star enclosed by a circle - on veterans' headstones.

This action comes after nearly a decade of refusal by the Department of Veterans Affairs to inscribe the pentacle on tombstones. The pentacle is now added alongside 38 other offered religious symbols, including the Chirstian cross, the Jewish Star of David and the Muslim crescent.

Approximately 10 veterans applications requesting the pentacle were pending in the Department of Veterans Affairs, according to the Washington Post. Monday's agreement allowed all pending requests to be granted within two weeks. The Department of Veterans Affairs will also approve new requests for the pentacle within 30 days.

According to the New York Times, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State attributed the delay of Wiccan inscriptions to religious discrimination.

Abortion Declared Legal in Mexico City

Mexico City lawmakers voted to legalize abortion Tuesday and allowed the procedure to be offered free at government clinics.

The new law will reqiure women under 18 to get consent from there parents. Nationally, Mexico only allows abortion in cases of rape, severe birth defects or if the woman's life is at risk. In some cases doctors deny the procedure under those circumstances, reports the Associated Press.

According to Reuters, competing protests by abortion rights and anti-abortion groups have occured in Mexico City. Abortion opponets are already making plans to appeal the issue to the Supreme Court. The vote has also encouraged the Vatican to send its top anti-abortion campaigner to Mexico City.

Cuba and Guyana are the only other countries in Latin American and the Caribbean where abortion is legally available to all women. Nicaragua, El Salvador and Chile don't allow it under any circumstances.

April 20, 2007

Vikings Propose Plans for New Stadium

The Minnesota Vikings proposed blueprints for a new stadium Thursday, which would be built on the site of the Metrodome.

The stadium would be climate-controlled, containing a retractable roof useful for cold days. Vikings officials are targeting the stadium’s opening for 2012, reports the Star Tribune.

But how much money will the Vikings contribute? Owner Zwigi Wilf didn’t provide exact numbers, but said they were prepared to offer “hundreds of millions of dollars.?

City leaders and Vikings officials claim the stadium is necessary to keep the Vikings in Minnesota, reports the Pioneer Press. Gov. Tim Pawlenty has stated that he’s not interested in subsidizing a new Vikings stadium.

April 17, 2007

Police Document Details Woman's Account in Alleged Rape Case

A police affidavit released this week shows the accuser's perspective of the alleged rape committed by three Gopher football players.

According to an affidavit, the 18-year-old woman was drinking and socializing with friends in the men's apartment. While she was intoxicated, Keith Massey, 20, E.J. Jones, 19, and Alex Daniels, 20, brought her to a bedroom and sexually assaulted her, she said. According to the Pioneer Press, the woman then went into the living room area and passed out.

Police searched the apartment and collected bedding and condoms as evidence. According to Kare 11 News, the three men have supplied DNA samples.

No charges have been made against the men, and one of their attorneys said he doesn't think there will be.

Iranian Weapons Siezed in Afghanistan, U.S. Says

U.S. forces intercepted Iranian-made weapons intended to arm the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Pentagon's top ranking general said Tuesday.

Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said it was unsure whether the Iranian government provided the arms or not. The discovered weapons included mortars and plastic explosives with markings indicating they were manufactored in Iran.

The Associated Press is reporting that this is the first publicly disclosed instance of Iranian arms entering Afghanistan.

According to the New York Times, American military commanders in Baghdad have repeatedly claimed that Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has provided weapons to militants in Iraq. Iran has denied the accusations.

Missing Cadet's Body Found

Authorities confirmed Tuesday afternoon the identity of a body discovered Monday in Goose Lake as missing West Point cadet Nick Rossini.

Rossini, 21, had been missing from his White Bear Lake home since Dec. 17. The Star Tribune is reporting that the autopsy showed Rossini had accidently drowned.

Rossini's family feared he was depressed after being arrested on charges of drunken driving the night before he went missing. According to the Pioneer Press, Police Chief Lynne Bankes said there was no indication of a suicide.

Rossini was a 2004 graduate of White Bear Lake Area High School.

33 Students Die in Nation's Worst Shooting Spree

A 23-year-old Virginia Tech English major killed 32 students Monday before taking his own life in the deadliest school shooting rampage in the nation's history. The shootings also injured 17 others, police said.

Cho Seung-Hui, a South Korean native, has allegedly been identified by authorities as the shooter. According to the Washington Post, Seung-Hui's body was found in Norris Hall, the classroom building where most of the murders took place.

“He never said a word the whole time," said mechanical engineering student Trey Perkins, who survived the Norris Hall attack. "I’ve never seen a straighter face.?

The shootings come almost eight years to the day of the Columbine High School attacks that left 13 dead.

According to the New York TImes, police found a bomb threat note and stated it was "reasonable" to conclude it was connected with the shootings.

April 12, 2007

Pioneer Press Sues Star Tribune

The St. Paul Pioneer Press sued its rival Minneapolis Star Tribune Thursday, demanding its new publisher be removed from the paper for one year.

The lawsuit accused Par Ridder, a former Pioneer Press publisher, and two executives of stealing confidental information from the St. Paul paper before starting their new jobs at the Star Tribune. The information included budgets, company profit and loss data, and advertiser lists with accompanying revenue and rate information, reports the Star Tribune.

The lawsuit accused Ridder and the two executives, Jennifer Parratt and Kevin Desmond, of violating non-compete agreements. The Pioneer Press is reporting that the lawsuit also accuses Star Tribune's parent company, Avista Capital Partners, of breach of contract.

U.S. Military Accuses Iran of Arming Iraqi Radicals

A chief U.S. military spokesman said Wednesday Iran intelligence operatives have armed Sunni militants in Iraq and trained Shiite extremists in Iran. Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell, citing testimony from detainees in U.S. custody, said the Iranian arms could have been manufactured as recently as last year.

Khalil Sadati, media adviser for the Iranian Embassy in Baghdad, denied the allegations and claimed they were made with no evidence. The New York Times is reporting that the accusation of a connection between the Iranian intelligence service and Sunni extremists is new.

According to the Washington Post, critics of the allegations believe the current evidence presented is not enough to prove that Iran has been sending weapons to Iraq. It is also unclear what motivation Iran, a Shiite country, would use to arm Sunni extremists, many of whom are anti-Iranian and anti-Shiite.

Pope Blends Science with Faith

Pope Benedict XVI said science cannot fully explain creation in a book published Wednesday. He did not endorse intelligent design, a popular theory among Protestant Christians that says the complexity of life requires a creator.

According to the New York Times, Benedict explained that he wouldn't depend on faith alone to "explain the whole picture" in a seminar last September. In the book "Creation and Evolution," Benedict said science does not completely prove evolution because it can't be duplicated in the laboratory.

The Associated Press reports Benedict expressing the idea that evolution "implies questions that must be assigned to philosophy and which themselves lead beyond the realms of science." Faith and reason should work together in one entity, the pope said.

In the book, Benedict also defends theistic evolution, an idea that God uses evolution to create life.

St. Paul School Board Member Resigns Amid Child Porn Controversy

St. Paul's longest-serving school board member said Thursday he will resign from his post because of allegations linking him to child pornography.

Al Oertwig denies allegations stating he viewed child pornography on a Metroplitan State University library computer. According to the Pioneer Press, Metro State security guards caught a man viewing child pornography who was logged in as school board member Al Oertwig.

Oertwig referred to the allegation as "offensive" but said he was resigning so the controversy wouldn't distract the school board's focus.

According to the Star Tribune, Oertwig said he regularly uses the library but has had no contact with the university or police about the allegations.

CBS Drops Imus

CBS Radio announced Thursday it had dropped radio personality Don Imus because of his racially charged comments. This comes a day after cable channel MSNBC announced they would cancel Imus' morning program from its morning lineup.

According to the Washington Post, CBS had continued to stand by a two-week suspension of the show until Thursday afternoon.

Imus' controversy began after he referred to Rutgers University's women basketball players as "nappy-headed hos" on his show last week. Seven major advertisers responded by stating they would no longer place ads on MSNBC's broadcast of "Imus in the Morning."

Imus began a scheduled two-day fundraising event for various charities Thursday morning in a response to his controversy. The New York Times is reporting Imus raised nearly $1 million in the event's first five hours.