March 2012 Archives

Poachers have killed over half of the elephants living in Bouba N'Djida National Park in Cameroon, Africa.

According to Scientific America, the National Park in the small African nation held about 450 elephants, which is roughly 80 precent of central Africa's savanna elephants.

It is believe that over 150 elephants have been killed since January reported The New York Times.

Richard Carroll, the vice president of the World's Wildlife Fund (WWF) U.S. Africa Programs, told Scientific America that the poachers, who mainly want the ivory tusks of the elephants, have to travel up to 1,000 miles through Chad and the Central African Republic to reach Cameroon's national park.

What is fueling this recent mass killing of elephants in Cameroon is the high demand for ivory in China, even though ivory trafficking has been banned since 1988 reported Scientific America.

Cameroon has sent in military forces to try and stop the poachers, but it has had little to no effect except for getting on soldier killed reported The New York Times.

According to The New York TImes, Natasha Kofoworola Quist, the head of WWF's Central Africa operations, said "This is not just a wildlife issue, and it is not just a Cameroon issue. This is a global issue."

Park Center Student Reaches a Milestone

Park Center student is recognized by Minneapolis Music Teachers Forum for preforming 63 recitals in 13 years.

Donte Allen, 18, has been playing piano since he was five. He has now set a record for the Minneapolis Music Teachers Forum the Star Tribune reported.

Playing piano has come natural to him ever since he was young, and performing in front of people doesn't give him stage fright. In fact he told the Star Tribune that he gets "anadrenaline rush", which benefits his playing.

Allen's piano teacher, Merrily Stone, told the Star Tribune that Allen's accomplishment was huge not only because of the number of recitals played in such a short amount of time, but in that each new song grows in difficulty.

Allen also told the Star Tribune that he loves the "liberty" to add a personal touch to the music after mastering the original version.

Along with the piano, Allen also plays the bass drum, and has tried guitar and clarinet reported the Star Tribune.

According to the Star Tribune, Allen plans on continuing to play and practice the piano and hopes to study piano performance in college.

Colonel James B. Morehead a retired WWII veteran, who stalked enemy planes like animals of prey, died at 95 from stroke complications.

Morehead led eight P-40 Warhawks on April 25, 1942 on an attack of Japanese bombers and fighters, over Darwin, Australia. He shot down three Japanese planes and the rest of his squad shot down eight more before he ordered the return back to base reported The New York Times.

On D-day Morehead shot down his eight and final plane in WWII, a German Messerschmitt, over Romania reported The New York Times.

According to The Washington Post, Morehead was awarded twice with the Distinguished Service Cross, which is one step below the Medal of Honor, along with other medals for his many victories and bravery in the air.

Morehead was born in Paoli, Okla., on Aug. 16, 1916 and raised in Washington, Okla. His father owned a small farm and the general store in town reported The New York Times. Growing up in the middle of the Great Depression Morehead learned to hunt for his families food.

Morehead move to California, where he joined the Army Air Corps in 1940. His crazy stunts while in the cockpit, including flighing from Novato, Calif. to Sacramento upside down, earned him the nickname "wildman" reported The New York Times.

After retiring for his desk job at the Pentagon in 1967, Morehead continued to stalk his prey, in big-game-hunting. According to The Washington Post, he displayed his many big-game trophies around his home, like the hippo skull that he kept in his front yard.

Morehead left behind two daughters from his second marriage and two grandchildren reported The New York Times.

Minneapolis Philanthropist and Newspaper executive dies at 82

John Cowles Jr. whose family had a large part in shaping Minneapolis newspapers died of lung cancer Saturday.

Cowles Jr. was a chairman, publisher and editor of two major Minneapolis newspapers, the Tribune and Star, reported the Star Tribune. He was also known as a philanthropist and held influences in Minneapolis politics and art scenes.

According to The New York Times, Cowles Jr. continued to write for the Tribune and the Star, he reported aggressively, covering more art and science in the Minneapolis, while also pushing for civil rights.

In the early 1960s Cowles Jr. persuaded Tyrone Guthrie to build a theater in Minneapolis, and was able to raise 2.2 million to put toward the theater reported the Star Tribune. Guthrie did stay, building the famous nonprofit Guthrie Theater. Cowle was also an advocate for the construction of the Metrodome.

Cowles was born on May 27, 1929, in Des Moines, IA. His grandfather, Gardner Cowles, father John Cowles Sr. and uncle Gardner (Mike) Cowles Jr. all had worked within media publications reported The New York Times.By the 1941 the Cowles family owned the Minneapolis Journal, the Star and the Tribune.

Cowles graduated from Harvard and spent some time at Phillips Exeter Academy. After college he spent two years in the Army, when he came back he worked as a report for the Star and the Tribune. His family owned and worked at them for over half a century, until they sold the conjoined news outlets to McClatchy Company in 1998 reported The Star Tribune.

According to the Star Tribune Cowles was let go in 1982 from the Star and Tribune, but still held a spot on the executive board along with his sister and cousin.

After being let go Cowles was able do everything he enjoyed. He taught an aerobics class, traveled with a dance company, built a women's professional soft-ball league, and opened the Cowles Center, which is dedicated to dance reported The New York Times.

According to the Star Tribune, Cowles left behind his wife, Sage Fuller Cowles; a daughter, Jane Sage Cowles; a stepdaughter, Tessa Flores; two sons, John Cowles Jr. and Charles Cowles; a sister, Sarah Cowles Doering; a brother Russell Cowles; 10 grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

King of Tonga, George Tupou V, dies at 63

King George Tupou V of Tonga, who turned the small nation from a monarchy into a more democratic government, died on Sunday at a Honk Kong hospital. He died at the age of 63.

According to The New York Times the kings death was reported by the Tonga prime minister over a radio address.

After the death of his father, King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV, in 2006 rioters upset over the absolute monarchy took to the streets and destroyed the center capital reported The Washington Post.

King Tupou took two years before his coronation ceremony in order to convert over to a more democratic government including a parliament reported The New York Times. King Tupou didn't hand over all the power, the King would still remain as head of state, be able to veto laws and veto parliament.

Along with the change to a more democratic government, King Tupou urged for new technologies such as cellphones and the Internet, yet many conservative Tongans were against the idea reported The Washington Post.

What caused King Tupous death is still unknown, he left behind a daughter. His brother, Crown Prince Tupouto'a Lavaka, is next in line for the throne.

Leonardo da Vinci's lost Mural Finally Found?

Researchers believe that they have found da Vinci's lost mural,"The Battle of Anghiari", hidden behind a wall in Florence's city hall.

In 1502 the Italian statesman Piero Soderini requested Leanardo da Vinci to paint a piece dedicated to the Italian Knights defeating the Milanese forces in 1440 on a wall of the capital reported National Geographic. Da Vinci was known for not being fond of war and, is said to have eventually given up the mural after a failed attempt at a new technique reported MSNBC.

According to National Geographic, a painter by the name of Giorgio Vasari was hired to redo the city hall in the 1550's and it is said that he could not bring himself to paint over da Vinic's mural. Vasari instead build a fake wall in front of da Vinic's mural.

Maurizio Seracini, a National Geographic Society member and an art diagnostician at the University of California, San Diego, was the first to suspect that the painting was behind Vasari's, when he found the saying "seek and you shall find" inscribed on a flag within his painting reported BBC and National Geographic.

In an effort to avoid harming the original Vasari painting that is located in front of the thought-to-be da Vinic mural, researchers were allowed to drill tiny holes through cracks or recently restored pieces of the painting reported National Geographic. They used a micro endoscopic probes and other high tech devises to examine behind the painting and discovered black pigment and red flakes of what they believe is paint reported MSNBC.

This data is still inconclusive without further research into the suspected da Vinic mural. Research has been halted for now due to outcry by the public and government officials reported National Geographic.

Unemployment is Minnesota's democratic Gov. Mark Dayton's top priority in his state of the state address.

Dayton addressed the Minnesota State Senate, House of Representatives, and Supreme Court Justices along with many other high ranking state officials late on Wednesday, February 15.

"Even though 97,000 more Minnesotans are working today than at the depth of the Great Recession, there are still more than 168,000 Minnesotans, who want to work, but cannot find employment," Dayton said, "They must be our No. 1 priority. So, I say to legislators, let's take your best ideas and my best ideas and turn them into jobs! And let's do it now."

Dayton encouraged the Republican legislature to pass his bondage bill. Which is a $775 million bill that would go to help state colleges, revamp state parks, and finance many downtown reconstructions of cities. ABC Newspapers reported that Dayton also encouraged the officials to pass the new Vikings stadium legislation this session.

Dayton believes that this bondage bill will create many new jobs for unemployed Minnesotans and that the legislation is already "past the half way point" in creating new jobs the Pioneer Press reported.

Dayton also touched on the borrowing of money by the state at the expense of K-12 education and school districts. According to ABC Newspapers the state legislator has cut roughly $1.5 billion from education.

"The key to our future, as we all know, is education," Dayton said.

Dayton goes on to saying that if his proposal to tax the upper 2 percent more heavily had gone through, the state wouldn't be in the situation of having to borrow from schools or have a $1.3 billion deficit.

Still Dayton is hopeful for the future of Minnesota. "If we cooperate, if we share our best ideas, if we exchange our rigid ideologies for our shared ideals, we will revitalize our state," Dayton said, "And we will be doing the jobs the people of Minnesota sent us here to do."

Kaler Makes His First State of the University Address

First year University of Minnesota President is looking for "new ways to work smarter" for the University.

Eric Kaler gave his first state of the University address Thursday, March 1 where he touched upon the Universities budget plans and new educational goals. Among these goals are a proposal for a switch to a year-round academic calendar reported the Star Tribune.

"But all in all, in the balance, I think the benefits could outweigh the challenges, and this is an idea well worth driving forward." Kaler said in reference to his proposal of changing to a year-round academic calendar.

Kaler went on to talk about the recent declines in state investments to the University and how he will fight to bring the tuitions cost back down, lessing the over all student debt load.

He continued on to talk about how he has budgeted an increase of pay by 2.5 precent to all University employees, this was followed by half hearted applause reported The Minnesota Daily.

Kaler ended his speech with high hopes when looking toward the future of the University of Minnesota.

"In that future I see no other side to consider," Kaler said, "In that case, there is no counterbalance to our calling. As an efficient, effective, and engaged institution, this University will continue to change the world."

Rick Santorum's Targets Obama in his Speech to AIPAC

GOP candidate Rick Santorum was greeted by applause and music as he took the stage at the conference for American Israel Public Affairs Committee on Tuesday, March 6.

Within the first five minutes of his speech, Santorum accuses Obama of "turning his back" on Israel's immediate danger from Iraq and it's manufacturing of nuclear weapons.

Being a former congressmen, Santorum is well educated in Middle Eastern issues reported CBS news. He believes that Obama and his administrators have taken a relaxed outlook on the Isreal-Iraq conflict.

Even though Obama's administration assures that there is no differences between their commitment to stop the production of nuclear weapons from being built in Iraq and the GOP candidates positions, Santorum still managed to find some holes, The New York Times reported.

Santorum continues, touching on how the administration has allowed talks to come about with the Iranian government that conflicts with the "UN's resolutions, that say they must stop the production of their nuclear fuel, before they are allowed to get those negotiations."

He goes on, suggesting that the administration give the Iranian government an 'ultimatum' to stop all production of nuclear weapons and let United States and other country officials survey their nuclear facilities otherwise the United States would stop them by force reported The New York Times.

Santorum made it very clear that negotiations are not needed, and that its time to take action.

"Another appeasement, another delay, another opportunity for them to go forward, while we talk," Santurom said.

British Prime Minister Speaks on War Stricken Somalia

Somalia's continuation of hostility causes the British Prime Minister to question the world's future security.

On February 23, British Prime Minister, David Cameron, along with many high ranking political officials from around the world converged in London to discuss the on going conflict in Somalia. While also exploring resolutions to other problems, such as leadership struggles and the on going poverty, CNN U.S. reported.

"These problems in Somalia don't just affect Somalia," Cameron said, "They affect us all."

Cameron spoke about how "young minds are being poisoned by radicalism"and how the extremists terroristic ways not only threaten the nation of Somalia, but the world's security.

As of now world leaders are discussing new ways to stop anymore blood from being shed. Cameron has come up with what he calls a way "of helping the Somali people to rebuild their country from the bottom up", consolidated within a three step plan; Security, aid/development and an increase in political progress.

The Huffington Post reported that Cameron called the conference on Somalia a "turning point" in acquiring a sense of security for the world.

As further talks continue not only with in the conference, but around the world on how to end the extremist's terror on Somalia and its people,Cameron is confident that with help, Somalia will gain back control and begin to prosper as a whole.

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