April 2010 Archives

Utah prisoner to die by firing squad

A judge agreed Friday to a Utah inmate's request to die by firing squad.
Ronnie Lee Gardner, 49, had the option of being killed by lethal injection or by a firing squad, an option that only Utah and Oklahoma offer, according to The Washington Post.
"I would like the firing squad, please," Gardner said when given the two options in a Utah courtroom on Friday, according to The New York Times.
In 2004, Utah ended the practice of using a firing squad for execution. In order to avoid legal complications, they allow prisoners who selected to die by firing squad before the practice was ended the choice, reported The New York Times.
According to The New York Times, Andrew Parnes, Gardner's lawyer, said he would make a new appeal to the State Supreme Court arguing that his client did not receive proper help with experts and research before his sentencing and that execution after such a long wait would be cruel and unusual punishment.
This is the fourth time a Utah judge has signed a death warrant to have Gardner executed, according to The Washington Post.
Gardner has seven days to ask for a sentence of life in prison without parole, reported The Washington Post.
Gardner was given the death penalty 25 years ago after murdering an attorney while trying to escape, according to The Washington Post.

Arizona governor signs immigration law

A strict bill on illegal immigration was signed into law on Friday by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer.
The bill would require immigrants to carry their immigration documents with them. Not carrying immigration documents could result in a misdemeanor offense, according to The New York Times.
The law also makes it illegal to hire day laborers off the street and to transport illegal immigrants, reported The Washington Post.
Police would be allowed to detain anyone they think is in the country illegally based on "reasonable suspicion," according to The New York Times.
Critics of the new law fear that it will foster racial profiling of Hispanics regardless of their immigration status, reported The Washington Post.
The authorities' ability to demand documents was like "Nazism,"Cardinal Roger M. Mahony of Los Angeles said according to The New York Times.
The New York Times reported that President Barack Obama has criticized the bill saying that the new law threatened "to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans."

German bishops resigns over cases of physical abuse

A Roman Catholic bishop from Germany has offered to resign after allegations of child abuse that date back to the 1970s and 1980s.
The accusations against Bishop Walter Mixa were made at the end of March when a daily German newspaper published reports that six boys and six girls had said that Mixa hit them in the children's home in Schrobenhausen, according to The New York Times.
Mixa denied the allegations at first, but later confirmed the accusations, according to The Washington Post.
"I ask the forgiveness of all those to whom I may have been unfair and to those who I may have caused heartache," Mixa wrote, according to The Washington Post.
Mixa was a prominent church figure in Germany, according to The New York Times.
An investigator has also found financial abnormalities at a children's home that Mixa was in charge of during the time when he abused the children, according to The Washington Post.
Mixa was not accused of sexual abuse, according to The New York Times.
There has been a 60 percent increase in people leaving the church since the allegations of child abuse first surfaced in late March, church authorities in Augsburg said according to The Washington Post.

Teen pleads guilty in Seward shootings

A teen pleaded guilty on Tuesday of his involvement in a robbery in the Seward neighborhood in Minneapolis that left three people dead.
Ahmed Shire Ali, 18, could be sentenced up to 18 years in prison after pleading guilty to three counts of attempted aggravated robbery, according to the Pioneer Press.
Ali is receiving a plea bargain in exchange for testifying against Mahdi Ali, 17, who allegedly shot and killed three people during the robbery attempt, according to the Star Tribune.
Ahmed Ali is to be sentenced on Oct. 27 by Judge Margaret Daly, according to the Star Tribune.
Mahdi Ali is scheduled for a trial on Sept. 27, according to the Pioneer Press.
A store employee Abdifatah Warfa, 28, his cousin, Mohamed Warfa, 30, and Anwar Mohammed, 31, a customer were allegedly killed by Mahdi Ali during the robbery, according to the Star Tribune.

Minneapolis to get high-tech meters

Minneapolis will get new high-tech meters installed throughout the city, an initiative approved by the City Council on Friday.
All 6,800 meters, costing $6.6 million, are set to be installed by 2012, according to the Star Tribune.
The council plans to start installation by September, according to the Minnesota Daily.
According to the Minnesota Daily, the new meters will accept coins, smart cards, and credit cards for payment.
There are drawbacks to the new meters. The new meters will have use wifi to electronically report to meter monitors when a meter runs out of time, reported the Star Tribune.
Also according to the Star Tribune, some of the meters that will be installed in downtown Minneapolis will not display how much time a parking space has left. This is because there will be one meter that is responsible for taking payment for several parking spaces.
In Stadium Village and Dinkytown one meter would be installed for each parking space, reported the Minnesota Daily.
The multi-space meters will be installed where meters are used most frequently and some meters are going to be replaced my traditional meters in areas where meter use is lower, reported the Star Tribune.

Two dead after murder-suicide in Columbia Heights

Two people are dead after what appeared to be a murder suicide in Columbia Heights on Saturday morning.
Jozef Tomasovic, 66, appears to have shot his wife, Natalia Tomasovic, 55, and then shot himself after, according to the Pioneer Press.
The shooting occurred in front of in the parking lot of Asia Chow Mein at about 10:30 a.m., according to the Pioneer Press.
According to the Star Tribune, a relative said the wife had planned on leaving her husband.
Neither one of the couple had a criminal record, according to the Star Tribune.
Jozef Tomasovic would "always be in his yard landscaping, and I would speak Slovakian to him. He was always kind and polite and appreciative that someone could speak his native language," Albert Kordiak, who lives a few houses away, said to the Star Tribune.
"He was very quiet, always working on his bushes," Christina Vescio, who lives down the block from the couple, said according the Star Tribune. "I didn't know he was married. I've tried smiling, or to be friendly, but he'd just give me a look and go back to his business."

The University of Minnesota granted Metropolitan Council easement on Friday so the council can begin preliminary construction on Washington Avenue for the new light-rail line.
The university and the council reached an agreement on measures to be taken in order to protect research labs along Washington Avenue, a concern the university had regarding construction near the labs, according to the Star Tribune.
The construction would begin in early May and end before football season starts, reported the Minnesota Daily.
Eighty labs in 19 buildings could be affected by the construction, reported the Star Tribune.
The U has an "absolute obligation" to look out for the research labs, University of Minnesota President Robert Bruininks said according to the Star Tribune. "We do very important work for the state of Minnesota."
The university will need $25 million to relocate labs to other buildings on campus, and the council and the university plan to ask the Legislature to provide $12.5 million of that funding, reported the Minnesota Daily.

Obama talks about space program among budget changes to NASA

President Barack Obama gave a speech about how he would like NASA to move forward amidst changes in budgeting plans for projects on Thursday at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Obama said he would like to send astronauts to asteroids by 2025 and to Mars in the 2030's, according to The Washington Post.
This proposal came after Obama announced he would scrap the Constellation project and ask for funding from private companies in order to send astronauts to the International Space Station, according to The New York Times.
The Constellation project, started five years ago, would have sent astronauts back to the moon, reported The New York Times.
Obama said $40 million would be used to help retrain workers at the Kennedy Space Center who will lose their jobs when the space shuttles are retired, reported The New York Times.
NASA needs to bring along commercial space entrepreneurs to handle transport missions to the international space station so the agency would be freed up to think and reach much farther, Obama said according to The Washington Post.
Obama has proposed .
White House administration has stopped discretionary spending temporarily, but has budgeted $6 billion extra for NASA over the next five years, Obama said according to The Washington Post.
Obama has faced opposition with his new budget plans for Nasa. "I would say the administration's plan is laughable, but I can't find much humor in it when the consequences to space exploration and American workers during tough economic times are so dire," Sen. Orrin Hatch said according to The Washington Post.
"We've got to do it in a smart way, and we can't just keep on doing the same old things we've been doing and thinking that's going to get us where we want to go," Obama said according to The New York Times.

Obama extends medical rights of same-sex couples

President Barack Obama mandated on Thursday that same-sex couples be allowed to visit their partner in the hospital and make medical decisions on their behalf.
The mandate is to affect all hospitals that are a part of Medicare and Medicaid, according to The New York Times.
President Obama sent a memo late Thursday to the secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services that said that hospitals are to "respect the rights of patients to designate visitors" and to choose the people who will make medical decisions on their behalf, according to The Washington Post.
The rules would also allow people whose spouse has died to receive visits from friends or religious groups they rely on for support, according to The New York Times.
Obama did say that gays and lesbians are "uniquely affected" because they often times are not allowed to visit their partner even if they have been with them for decades, reported The New York Times.
"By taking these steps, we can better protect the interests and needs of patients that are gay or lesbian, widows and widowers with no children, members of religious orders, or others for whom their loved ones are not always immediate relatives. Because all Americans should be able to have loved ones there for them in their time of need," a White House spokesman, Shin Inouye, said Thursday night according to The New York Times.

Cyclone hits India and kills 122

At least 122 people were killed after a cyclone hit eastern India late Tuesday night.
The storm destroyed 50,000 mud huts in West Bengal, and left about 100,000 people homeless, according to The New York Times.
Winds were as strong as 100 mph, and tore down trees and telephone and electricity lines, according to The Washington Post.
"My family is safe, but all the trees outside my house were torn from their roots," Sanjeev Paswan told the New York Times. "It was all dark. I thought it was the end of the world and we were going to die."
Indian authorities arrived on Thursday to provide food, water and temporary shelter to the victims of the cyclone, according to The Washington Post.
Indian state officials said that people who lost their homes or their family members would be able to receive cash compensation, according to The New York Times.

Use of numbers in a story

In The Washington Post's story about new rules for vehicle emissions, they frequently use numbers to tell the story about the environmental and financial impact the new rules are going to have.
One of the ways the reporter uses numbers is as percentages in order to tell us how much greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced.
A second way the reporter uses numbers is to tell the reader how much more money, on average, they will have to pay for a car, and also how much they will save in fuel.
A third way the reporter uses numbers is to tell the reader what the average miles per gallon a car gets now, and how many miles per gallon they are going to be required to get with these new emissions rules.
The numbers are well-placed throughout the story, for the most part. There is one paragraph where too many numbers are used, which makes it confusing to the reader unless he or she rereads the paragraph.
The reporter could have made that paragraph less confusing by putting the numbers in separate paragraphs, since all three numbers used in that paragraph were addressing different issues regarding the rules change.
The reporter used math in order to find the percentage that greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced as miles per gallon increases.
Without that percentage, the reader would not know that 8 miles per gallon would reduce fuel emissions by that big of a percentage. It helps to tell about the impact these new rules will have.
The sources of the numbers come from the Environmental Protection Agency, Transportation Department and the Natural Resources Defense Council's climate center. The numbers that come from these sources are listed completely and attributed.

U.S. limits emissions from automobiles

President Barack Obama finalized new rules on Thursday that will set a limit to the amount of greenhouse gas emissions cars can give off, and also increase fuel efficiency in vehicles.
The rules demand that by 2016, all models of vehicles must have get an average of 35.5 miles per gallon, reported The Washington Post.
According to The Washington Post, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that new vehicle requirements will add $985 to the initial cost of the car, but will save consumers an estimated $4,000 in fuel costs over the life of the car.
The new reduction standards for vehicle emissions are expected to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases by as much as 30 percent from the years 2012 to 2016, reported The New York Times.
The new vehicle rules would save consumers money and provide an incentive for the development of new automotive technology, Lisa Jackson, the EPA administrator, told The New York Times.
The program being enacted to make these changes to fuel emissions will end in 2016, reported The New York Times.
Car companies would need to know what their fuel economy rules would be after 2016, when the program announced Thursday ends.Gloria Bergquist, a vice president of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, told The New York Times.

Immigrants not included in health care reform

Undocumented immigrants will not be covered by insurance or be able to purchase insurance under the new health care bill.
According to The Washington Post, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that there are 7 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States, and they are not included in the health care reform.
Undocumented immigrants will not be able to buy health insurance in the exchanges even if they pay for it themselves, reported The New York Times.
According to The Washington Post, some believe that allowing immigrants to access health care will motivate them to come to America, leaving Americans with an unfair tax burden.
Although the approved legislation explicitly excludes undocumented immigrants from participating in the exchanges, there is no foolproof way of verifying their documentation to keep them out, Yeh Ling-Ling, executive director of Alliance for a Sustainable USA, told The New York Times.
Although undocumented immigrants will not have access to health insurance, they will still be able to access emergency medical care, reported The Washington Post.

One of Moscow suicide bombers identified

One of the suicide bombers from Moscow's subway bombing on Monday was discovered to a 17-year-old widow of an Islam rebel leader.
Dzhanet Abdullayeva set off the second and last explosive on the subway during Monday morning's rush hour, according to The Washington Post.
She was one of two female suicide bombers to attack Moscow's subway on Monday, reported The New York Times.
The two explosives that were set off killed 40 people and injured 80 people, reported The Washington Post.
Her husband, Umalat Magomedov, 30, was killed by federal forces in December. His murder encouraged her to seek revenge, reported The New York Times.
Abdullayeva is from Dagestan, which is an impoverished and corrupt area of southern Russia, reported The New York Times.

Man stabs wife 70 times

A Minneapolis woman died after her husband stabbed her 70 times.
Pauline Nash, 42, was stabbed 70 times in the chest and head by her husband, reported the Pioneer Press.
She was taken to North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale, where she died, reported the Star Tribune.
Billy Nash, 46, told investigators he was angry about how his wife spent household money. He grabbed a paring knife during the argument, reported the Star Tribune.
According to the Pioneer Press, Nash used a paring knife and a butcher knife to stab his wife after the argument escalated.
"I'm sorry, sergeant, that you had to come out here tonight for this," Nash told police officers who arrived on the scene, according to the Star Tribune. "She was driving me crazy. ... I killed the (expletive)."
Brittany Nash, 18, said she was woken up by her mother's screams at about 3 a.m.. She went to her mother's bedroom and saw her father on top of her while her mother was screaming for help, reported the Star Tribune.
Brittany Nash dialed 911, according to the Star Tribune.
According to the Pioneer Press, Brittany Nash's 13-year-old sister saw her father stabbing her mother. She grabbed her father around the neck, pulled him off of her mother, and ran outside with the knife allegedly used to stab her mother.
Nash is being held on a $1 million bail. He is scheduled to make his first court appearance on Monday, reported the Pioneer Press.

Six die in deadly pub fire in Minneapolis

A fire destroyed a tavern in Minneapolis early Friday, killing six people.
A bartender, three young children, their father and their grandmother died in a fire that gutted MacMahon's Pub, according to the Star Tribune.
The bartender was Ryan Richner, 25, and five members of the Gervais family: Anne, 43; Andrew, 26; twins Aliciah and Austin, 3, and 2-year-old Colten, reported the Star Tribune.
The building was two-stories tall with a pub on the first floor and apartments on the second floor, reported the Star Tribune.
According to the Pioneer Press, the fire seemed to have started on the second floor, but there were not yet indications of what caused the fire, Fire Chief Alex Jackson said.
This fire was Minneapolis' deadliest fire in 24 years, reported the Pioneer Press.
"The building just blew up," Tiffany Churchill told the Star Tribune. She lived in an apartment above the pub, and ran out of the building with her 2-year-old twin daughters before they could be engulfed by the flames.
During a March 15 fire code inspection, authorities found eight violations, Minneapolis Fire Marshal Bryan Tyner told the Pioneer Press.
The owners had until March 30 to get the building up to code. Tyner said his office had not yet returned to the building to see if the changes had been made, reported the Pioneer Press.

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