November 2010 Archives

New Hasting Bridge underway

The new arch bridge in Hastings that will cross the Mississippi River is planned to start construction next summer, but a few preliminary safety precautions started last week.

The bridge, which will be Minnesota's first free-standing, above-deck arch bridge, will ease traffic congestion and will do so artfully.

According to the Star Tribune the arch bridge will light up at night and have the longest arches inNorth America at 545 feet, transportation officials said.

The bedrock was tested last week to ensure could handle the 11,500-ton load expected from the bridge.

Other tests started Monday to assess pile strength capacity for some of the piers of the new bridge. Small explosions are expected to last for the next to weeks and are constricted to daylight hours, the Pioneer Press reported.

Iranian scientist killed, another injured

An Iranian nuclear scientist was killed and another injured in separate car bombs Monday in Tehran, the capital of Iran.

Assailants on motorcycles attached magnetized bombs to each car as they were driving to work. They exploded seconds later.

Majid Shahriari, the scientist killed, was apart of the nuclear engineering program at Shahid Beheshti University in Tehran, the BBC reported.

The wounded scientist, Fereydoon Abbasi, was reported in Iranian media as one of the country's few specialists who can separate isotopes.

According to Yahoo News Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Western governments are involved in the assassination, including Israel.

Diversity analysis

In the New York Times an article titled "Cindy McCain Calls for End of 'Don't Ask'" appeared Friday, which was about Arizona Senator John McCain's wife supporting the repeal of the military policy "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

I talked to an out lesbian through e-mail about what she thought of the piece and if she noticed any stereotyping within the reporting.

Lauren, a grad student at Ohio State who's last name I will not use, did not observe any stereotyping. The only thing she mentioned was how John McCain may be forced to take such an extreme stance on LGBT rights to gain political approval while his wife can publicly say she's against the military policy. This is all speculation, of course.

"It is refreshing to see individuals such as Cindy McCain speak out against unjust discrimmination and denounce her party's conventional view points because it shows that you can identify as a Republican and support equal treatment of minorities," Lauren said.

The article's main idea went beyond stereotyping Republican viewpoints and turned everybody in LGBT community into someone everyone should consider their equal.

"It is encouraging to think that this is only the beginning and that every day citizens are becoming more educated about LGBT issues," Lauren said.

Woman killed, two men arrested

A woman recently released from prison was the victim of a fatal stabbing Thursday night in a St. Louis Park hotel.

Pamela Jean Beaulieu, 32, was found in a blood-splattered room around 7 p.m. by an employee of the hotel Lakeland Inn.

Richard Alan Whigham, 42, of Woodbury and Larry Darnell Harper, 48, of Minneapolis were arrested on suspicion of killing Beaulieu and are still in custody, the Pioneer Press reported.

Police believed Beaulieu knew the two men.

Beaulieu had been convicted at least 43 times for crimes in Minnesota, including prostitution.

According to the Star Tribune police are still looking for at least one more suspect.

Freezing rain turns roads into ice rinks

Freezing rain caused hundreds of accidents and nearly 900 calls of service late Saturday into early Sunday, the state patrol said.

"It was one for the ages as far as road conditions go," State Patrol Lt. Eric Roeske said.

There were 438 reported accidents, the state patrol reported at noon Sunday. From those accidents, 376 of them were in the metro area, the Star Tribune reported.

Sidewalks were also very dangerous as many pedestrians fell causing head injuries, sprained ankles, broken bones and fractures.

"Until you start sliding, you can't really distinguish the ice from the wet roadway," Roeske said.

According to the Pioneer Press, it was difficult to get the salt trucks on the road initially, and once they were out it was still a challenge to prevent them from going into the ditch.

Wesley Snipes ordered to jail over taxes

Hollywood actor Wesley Snipes was ordered Friday to surrender to authorities to begin his three-year sentence.

U.S. District Judge William Terrell Hodges said Snipes had a fair trial in 2008 when the actor was convicted for failing to file his income tax returns in 1999, 2000 and 2001 and should turn himself in.

According to the BBC, Snipes appealed to the courts decision and has been on bail ever since.

The 48-year-old "Blade" trilogy star was acquitted of two more serious felony charges, the LA Times reported.

Pope relaxes on use of condoms

Condom use is acceptable in some circumstances, Pope Benedict XVI said in an interview from a book set for release next week.

Before this remark, the Pope and the Vatican opposed the use of condoms under any circumstances because they are not a natural form of contraception.

Benedict surprised the Catholic community by saying condoms can be used to help stop the spread of HIV/AIDS, at least for prostitutes, slightly relaxing on the long-running opposition of their use.

According to the BBC last year in Cameroon the Pope said, to much criticism, condoms may make the HIV/AIDS infection worse.

The interview was done by a German journalist Peter Seewald earlier in the summer for a book due out Tuesday that covers the Pope and the church, the LA Times reported.

NATO and Afghanistan sign pact

International forces will stay in Afghanistan even after 2014 after NATO and the Afghan government came to an agreement Saturday.

Security leadership will be transfered into afghanistan starting next year in hopes that by 2014 Afghans will take the lead.

According to the BBC Nato is in it for the long-run and will stay even after 2014 to help with the transition and offer support.

The goal is to train police, soldiers, and create a government, economy and infrastructure within Afghanistan, CNN reported.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO's secretary-general signed the pact in Lisbon in front on reporters at the NATO summit.

Numbers analysis

In the Star Tribune story about a man falling to his death after fleeing police, numbers were used in a few different ways.

The numbers used did not have to be figured out mathematically, but the reporter used the numbers to give an address, indicate an interstate, show an age, and give a distance. The numbers were simplistic in terms of the Stylebook, for example when to spell out "street" when associated with an address.

The numbers are not overwhelming and are spaced out nicely throughout the story. Numbers were used at least six times in a very story article, so the timing and spacing made understanding the numbers easier.

The numbers did not have to be sourced because they were not figured out mathematically, but they were most likely fact checked to make sure it matched police reports about what time it happened and where.

Man dies after fleeing police

A man fleeing police on foot jumped to his death from a freeway ramp Saturday, police said.

Jason Yang, 29, of West St. Paul, was said to have started a fight outside of Epic Nightclub in Minneapolis and when officers arrived he ran, police said.

According to the Pioneer Press the man ran through a nearby parking ramp before jumping over a concrete barrier, falling to a parking lot below.

The ramp was near Target Field and Interstate 394, police said, the Star Tribune reported.

The officers involved were given the option of a three-day paid leave.

Name for baby dolphin at Minn. Zoo down to three

The new baby dolphin's name will be announced Monday after fans on the Minnesota Zoo's Facebook page votes on three finalists. The names

The marine mammal staff at the Apple Valley zoo choose three out of the over 3,000 names that were submitted online. Fans can vote for the names Taijah, Marais or Sealie.

The contest ends Sunday night, the Star Tribune reported.

According to the Pioneer Press the Atlantic bottlenose calf was born on July 17 and now weighs 60 pounds.

"Mystery missile" may be aircraft, officials said

The condensation trail over the coast of L.A. Monday evening, first thought to be a missile, was probably and aircraft, a pentagon official said.

At sunset Monday residents of L.A. witnessed what appeared to be a missile launch over the ocean.

The Navy, Air Force, and Defense Department were not aware of any scheduled launches when contacted by news stations Monday night, Yahoo reported.

A Pentagon official said Tuesday what people saw was probably the condensation trail of an aircraft.

According to the LA Times radar, satellite and other imaging technology was used by government agencies to determine that no missile was launched at that time in that location. Commercial airliners were also flying in the vicinity at that time according to records from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Amanda Knox faces slander trial

Amanda Knox, the 23-year-old American student convicted of killing her British roommates last year, faces slander charges in a new trial, her lawyer, Luciano Ghirga, said.

In an indictment hearing in Perugia, Italy a judge decided Knox will go on trial on charges of slander against Italian police.

The case is based on Knox's claim that police beat her over the head during questioning. Knox's parents are also facing charging for repeating the allegations, CNN reported.

According to the BBC Knox's trial will begin in May 2011, and an appeal against her murder conviction is set to begin in a few weeks.

MTV European music awards taken by North America

North American artists dominated the MTV European Music Awards Sunday night snagging awards in top categories.

Eva Longoria of Desperate Housewives hosted the show in Madrid where U.K. artists like Muse, Plan B, and Alexandra Burke were left in the dust.

American pop artist and performer Lady Gaga, who accepted her awards via satellite, bagged three wins including female artist of the year, best pop act and best song for "Bad Romance," according to the Star Tribune.

Newlywed Katy Perry won best video for "California Gurls," and Canadian Justin Bieber snagged the best male artist and best male push act, the BBC reported.

While European artists lost in the main categories, they won awards in smaller areas like best UK and Ireland act, which went to Marina and the Diamonds.

Obituary Analysis

The New York Times reported that Shannon Tavarez, the 11-year-old who played Nala in Broadway's "The Lion King," died of leukemia Monday.

The obituary had a standard lead that worked very well. It included who she was, why she was notable and how she died. At the end of the lead it also stated her age.

Sources included were the hospital where she died, the production manager from "The Lion King" and the executive vice president of DKMS America, a bone marrow transplant center. All of the sources contributed to the story by giving little facts about her life, and what she had to go through during treatment.

An obituary is different from a resume because an obituary highlights the person's life, and discuses the person's death, while a resume lists the person's accomplishments.

"Miracle on Ice" gold medal sold

An authentic 1980 Olympic "Miracle on Ice" gold medal was sold Saturday for nearly $311, 000.

The gold medal, belonging to Marks Wells, a center on the United States Olympic hockey team in 1980, was bought by a private collector from the west for $316,700. The medal was cosigned to Heritage Auctions of Dallas.

Wells, who was 21-years-old when the gold was draped around his neck, sold it after struggling with genetic disease that attacked his spinal cord, Yahoo Sports reported.

The medal sold for nearly three times the amount of it's pre-sale estimate, Heritage said.

According to Forbes, 16 collectors bid on the item by phone and internet before going to a rancher from the western U.S.

The University of Minnesota's Board of Regents received a list Friday for four semi-final candidates in the search for a new president.

At the end of the academic year current president Bob Bruininks will step down to take a faculty position within the university.

According to the Minnesota Daily, the candidates names have not been released, but may be public by the end of next week.

The new president will be the U's 16th in 142 years, and is likely to be named by the end of the calender year, the Pioneer Press reported.

The finalists will be interviewed in public on campus.

Bank teller abducted and driven to bank

A woman was abducted early Friday from her driveway in Ramsey before being driven to a bank in Anoka.

The woman, whose name was not disclosed, was forced into her car at gunpoint around 6 a.m. by two men as she was getting ready to go to work.

She was driven to a U.S. Bank branch in Anoka where she works where the two robbers demanded she open the vault.

The men, described as masked black men in their late 20s or early 30s, are believed to have targeted five banks within the past three months in the Twin Cities area, the Star Tribune reported.

According to the Pioneer Press, U.S. bank is offering a $100,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest and conviction, which was upped from $50,000 late Friday.

Judges ousted in Iowa election

Three high court justices, who helped make Iowa the first Mid-western state to allow same-sex marriage, were removed from their seats Wednesday after they didn't receive enough votes for re-election.

Chief Justice Marsha Ternus, David Baker and Michael Streit needed to gain more "yes" votes than "no" votes to serve another eight-year term under the voting system in Iowa. None of them campaigned much and did not raise money.

According to CNN their removal from the bench ended a campaign in the state that was funded mostly by out-of-state organizations against same-sex marriage.

Bob Vander Plaats, a Republican who led the campaign, said he hopes this sends a message to the country that the people hold the power, the New York Times reported.

"We're concerned about the precedent this has set tonight and what it means for the influence of money and politics on the judicial system," said co-chair of Fair Courts for Us Dan Moore, who supported the judges.

New gay list published in Uganda

A list of 10 gay and lesbian people in Uganda was published encouraging citizens of the African country to report them to the police.

The tabloid, Rolling Stones, which has no relation to American Magazine, published names, addresses, and photos of each person next to a banner that said "hang them."

At least four people have been attacked since the magazine published its first list that included the top 100 names, the BBC reported.

The editor of the magazine, Giles Muhame, 22, said he only wants the homosexuals to be reported to the police, but not attacked.

According to CNN a bill is currently going through the Ugandan government that would make homosexuality illegal and punishable by death.

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