December 2011 Archives

SOPA debate adjourned, still on table

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The House Judiciary committee considering the Stop Online Privacy Act adjourned Friday with new new vote date set, reported the Guardian.

Hollywood media giants have heavily lobbied for the bill, that would crack down on online privacy, which they say has cost them billions in lost sales, according to the Guardian.

But several prominent web firms sent open letters to Congress, arguing the bill would halt innovation on the Internet, according to the Washington Post.

Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Tex., has introduced an amendment to address concerns that it would damage the infrastructure of the Internet, according to the Washington Post.

The debate is expected to resume when Congress resumes after the holiday break, according to the Guardian.

Police shot and killed bear in St. Paul

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A St. Paul police officer killed a bear Saturday evening in the Dayton's Bluff neighborhood, according to police, reported the Pioneer Press.

Police said they received a call around 7:30 p.m., notifying them of a bear sighting, according to the Star Tribune.

The bear was shot and killed around 8 p.m., police said, according to the Pioneer Press.

Officials did not know how the bear came to be in the neighborhood, according to the Star Tribune.

Last American troops leave Iraq as war officially ends

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The last of American troops left Iraq Sunday, ending a nine-year-long war that begain in March 2003, according to the Chicago Tribune.

"I just can't wait to call my wife and kids and let them know I am safe," Sgt. First Class Rodolfo Ruiz said, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The last hundred vehicles out of Iraq began snaking out of the country around 2:30 a.m. to keep the trip secret, according to the New York Times.

"The Iraqis are going to wake up in the morning, and nobody will be there," said a soldier who identified himself only as Specialist Joseph, according to the New York Times.

Koch resigns as Senate majority leader

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Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch resigned Thursday due to allegations of an inappropriate relationship with a male Senate staffer, according to WCCO.

The resignation came after Koch had an emergency meeting with fellow Republicans Wednesday night, according to the Star Tribune.

"Her response to the conversation was ...'I think I need to consider resigning,' " said Assistant Senate Majority Leader David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, reported the Star Tribune.

Koch wrote a letter sent to Senate Republicans Thursday that stated, "We cannot afford a lame duck leader in negotiations next session, which is why I am resigning my position as Majority Leader."

Boehner opposes payroll tax deal

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House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Sunday that he was opposed to the extension of payroll tax cuts the Senate passed Saturday by an overwhelming majority, according to the New York Times.

The Senate passed a two-month extension to payroll tax cuts and unemployment benefits - a move that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said was worked on with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and was agreed to by both political parties, reported the Washington Post.

"Well, it's pretty clear that I and our members oppose the Senate bill," Boehner said, according to the Washington Post. "It's only for two months."

But the New York Times called Boehner's position "what appeared to be an about-face."

WebOS goes open source

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Hewlett-Packard will be open-sourcing webOS, its mobile operating system, according to the Verge.

The company will likely produce more webOS tablets in 2013, according to Chief Executive Meg Whitman, reported the New Zealand Herald.

It isn't yet clear exactly which portions of the massive webOS blanket will be released, according to the Verge.

The move comes months after the company reduced the price of its TouchPad tablet to $99 in an abandonment closeout sale, according to the New Zealand Herald.

Those devices will "continue to receive software improvements and updates in the future," said the press release, according to the Verge.

Russians protest parliamentary elections

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Russian President Dmitri Medvedev ordered an investigation on Sunday into the country's recent parliamentary elections, according to CNN.

The announcement came after tens of thousands demanded the election be rerun, reported Reuters.

Reuters called the statement "a sign that the Russian leadership feels under pressure after the biggest opposition protests since Putin rose to power in 1999."

The election results, released Friday, placed United Russia in first place by 146 seats, according to CNN.

First concert at Target Field sold out

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Target Field's first ever concert was sold out within four hours Saturday, according to KARE 11 News.

More than 39,000 tickets were sold, and more tickets may be released, reported the Pioneer Press.

According to KARE 11 News, some fans experienced issues purchasing tickets.

Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw will headline the show set for July 8, according to the Pioneer Press.

Blagojevich gets 14 years

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Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison on Wednesday, providing closure for a years-long political scandal debacle, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Blagojevich was apologetic, claiming ownership of his misdeeds, reported the New York Times.

"I'm not blaming anyone. I was the governor, and I should have known better. I am just so incredibly sorry," said Blagojevich, according tot he New York Times.

The sentence is the fourth former Illinois governor sent to prison since the 1970s, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Blagojevich was convicted of 18 criminal counts, most notably attempting to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama, reported the Chicago Tribune.

Dziedzic wins Senate District 59 DFL primary

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Kari Dziedzic won the DFL nomination for Senate District 59 Tuesday, capturing 32 percent of the vote in the five person race, according to the Minnesota Daily.

The district, which covers part of the University of Minnesota campus and stretches to North Minneapolis, has long been represented by Larry Pogemiller, D-Minn, according to the Minnesota Daily.

Dziedzic will face the district's sole Republican candidate Ben Schwanke in the January general election, according to the Star Tribune.

Political newcomer Jacob Frey came in last in the primary, but was happy to capture more than 60 percent of votes cast in Coffman Union and the Superblock area of the University of Minnesota, according to the Minnesota Daily.

"The numbers show we are the campaign for the next generation," he told the Minnesota Daily.

Al Franken presses Carrier IQ for privacy answers

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Al Franken, D-Minn., called on a cell phone information tracking company to explain what information it collects on Thursday after a researcher found potential security breaches by the software, according to The Verge.

Franken, chairman of the Senate's subcommittee on privacy, technology and law, sent a letter to Carrier IQ asking for a response by Dec. 14, according to a press release.

Carrier IQ develops software to help phone manufacturers and carriers gain information to better their products. But exactly what information they collect and transmit, and whether consumers can opt out is still unknown.

Chris Soghoian, a computer expert at Indiana University's Center for Applied Cybersecurity, said the software "is a gold mine for hackers," reported the Star Tribune.

Minnesota predicts $876 million surplus

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Minnesota is expecting a $876 millions surplus for the current two-year budget, according to the Pioneer Press.

Many expected a deficit of as lasrge as $1 billion, but the budget released Thursday by the Minnesota Management and Budget office was unexpected, reported the Minnesota Daily.

"Surprise!" said Jim Schowalter, MMB commissioner, at the opening of the news conference, according to the Pioneer Press.

"This forecast is terrific news for Minnesota," said Gov. Mark Dayton, according to the Pioneer Press.

An updated forecast will be released in February, reported the Minnesota Daily.

Herman Cain drops presidential bid

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Herman Cain ended his presidential bid on Saturday, saying the relentless sexual misconduct accusations took too much of a toll on him and his family, reported the Washington Post.

The decision comes after what the Washington Post called "a string of impressive debate performances."

The remaining six presidential candidates tried to gain Cain's followers' support on Saturday night at a Fox News forum, according to the New York Times.

Newt Gingrich, the new leader according to an Iowa poll, hopes Cain's supporters will find similar traits in him.

Gingrich said Cain "deserves credit for having the courage to talk about big ideas and focus on the economy," reported the Washington Post.

Iran says it shot down drone

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A news agency in Iran said the country shot down an unmanned U.S. spy drone Sunday, according to the Washington Post.

The drone was downed for violating Iranian airspace along the eastern border of the country, reported the New York Times.

"The spy drone, which has been downed with little damage, was seized by the armed forces," said Iran's al-Alam state television network, according to the Washington Post.

The network showed only stock footage of the drone, reported the Washington Post.

The drone was reportedly used for surveillance on Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan when he was killed earlier this year, according to the New York Times.

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