U.K. to discuss changes in royal succession rule

With the royal wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton rapidly approaching at the end of this month, members of Britain's government are thinking about changes in the royal succession rule, the Associated Press reported.

As of right now, the rule states that the oldest son would inherit the throne, even if he has an older sister.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg called the current rule "old fashioned" and told reporters that he thinks "most people in this day and age would think it's worth considering whether we change the rules so that baby girl could become the future monarch."

However, the British government agreed that abolishing this rule would be a difficult process, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Along with requiring an act of the British Parliament, the new royal succession rule would have to get approval from 15 other Commonwealth countries since the current Queen of England holds the position of head of state in countries such as Australia.

''Even if they change the line of succession in the UK, that doesn't change it in Australia automatically,'' said constitutional lawyer George Williams in an interview. ''It would need to be followed through in every Commonwealth nation that has the Queen as the head of state.''

Although this has been discussed in the past, there is a push now for this law to pass since there may be a new royal child within the next year should Prince William and Middleton decide to start a family immediately.

150th anniversary of Civil War leaves some excluded

On Tuesday, Americans gathered to celebrate the beginning of the war that ended slavery in the United States.

To recreate this historic battle, approximately two dozen Union Army re-enactors raised a 33-star American flag in South Carolina's Charleston Harbor. Then the first shot was fired, Reuters reported, much like on April 12, 1861.

The National Park Service and the city of Charleston came together to plan this event, hoping to be true to history throughout the re-enactment.

However, there were many African Americans missing from the festivities.

According to the Associated Press this was not unexpected since many Civil War celebrations in the past have come to commend the Confederacy.

"I think it is very painful and raw," said the Rev. Joseph Darby of Charleston. Darby is African American and did not attend the events. "If you're going to be authentic in the way you re-create it, it would be hard to filter out the triumphal air of the firing on Fort Sumter."

One African American woman named Dot Scott is the president for the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and doesn't want to have anything to do with the celebration either.

"It's almost like celebrating with the enemy," she said. "I personally began to have a feeling of why would I want to be a part of it?"

However, the National Park Service is attempting to make the events celebrating the Civil War more welcoming and more hospitable for everyone in the coming years.

Stillwater bridge nears reopening

Residents surrounding the St. Croix River are relieved now that the water level is lowering and the bridge is expected to open Monday or Tuesday, according to a report from the Star Tribune.

"I'm kind of assuming it will be after the morning rush hour [on Monday], but we'll have to see," said Stillwater Mayor Ken Harycki.

The bridge, which is prone to reach flood level every spring, has been closed since April 8.

In order to reach flood stage, the river must reach 87-feet. As of Saturday, the St. Croix River was just a full half-foot under that, the Star Tribune reported.

Compared to other rivers around the state, St. Croix water levels are dwindling faster than others.

In St. Paul, for example, the National Weather Service said the Mississippi River is not expected to fall below flood level for at least another week.

Those who frequently use the Stillwater bridge will be pleased with the reopening next week. According to the Associated Press, approximately 18,000 motorists use the bridge daily.

Historic Grain Belt sign a victim of graffiti

The Grain Belt bottle cap sign in downtown Minneapolis is a historic part of the city. For over 70 years it has represented the beer, but in recent decades it has become somewhat of a problem for the Eastman family, who owns the property.

According to the Star Tribune, the city of Minneapolis has ordered the Daphne R. Eastman Family Trust to remove graffiti from the sign at least nine times in the past five years under a policy which states that all graffiti must be removed within seven days of occurrence.

This policy only hurts the property owners, since they are the people who have to pay for the removal.

According to Minneapolis's Solid Waste Director Susan Young, the city already spends $1 million on graffiti removal. "We can't afford as a city to remove all graffiti at no charge to the property owner," she said.

The real trouble with the sign started in 2006. The Star Tribune reported that the sign was vandalized three times that year. Winthrop Eastman removed the graffiti twice but the third time he left the art up for months until the city took care of it.

His most recent bill totaled $630 after the city painted over new graffiti on March 18.

While the Eastman family still owns the signs, a article from Minnesota Public Radio in 2009 stated that they were willing to sell it to somebody who would take care of reparations.

Applebee's and Olive Garden serves alcohol to children

At national franchise restaurants around the country, parents are starting to think before ordering drinks for their children after two incidents of alcohol being served to children.

Although at different restaurants nearly 1,000 miles apart, the mix-ups occurred within days of each other.

First, Jill Vanheest's 2-year-old son was served sangria at an Olive Garden in Lakeland, Florida on March 31, according to a report by CNN. Then on April 8, Taylor Dill-Reese's 15-month-old son was served alcohol rather than apple juice at a Applebee's in Madison Heights, Michigan.

Now, both chains are facing PR problems.

"In an industry that serves more than 150 million meals every day, these are two extremely rare occurrences," the National Restaurant Association statement read. "However, we believe that even one incident like this is too many."

According to USA Today, both Olive Garden and Applebee's must retrain their staff, rethink policies, limit bar use, be forthcoming and involve people through social media.

Both children have recovered since the incidents but Dill-Reese and Vanheest are angry about what happened. Applebee's and Olive Garden refused to anser to interview requests, according to USA Today.

Trump rises in the presidency polls

In recent weeks, proclaimed businessman Donald Trump has been raising eyebrows and generating buzz about a potential GOP run for president in the 2012 election.

According to Fox News, Trump said he will decide by June.

"I never really considered very strongly running for the presidency," Trump said in an interview. "But the country has never been in trouble like it is now."

However, most people know Trump for his savvy businesses skills, not his political power. This celebrity status could both help and hurt him if he were to run.

"They've seen him on television, they see him as brash, outspoken, declarative, in charge, he makes decisions," former White House insider and Fox News contributor Karl Rove told Fox News. "We know that not necessarily from him making big decisions about big important issues, but him making decisions about who is on or who's off 'The Apprentice.'"

Besides the attention he has attracted from "The Apprentice," he has also raised eyebrows with his support for those who believe President Barack Obama was not born in the United States.

According to the New York Daily News, these accusations could hurt him even further if he attempts to run as the GOP candidate.

"There may be a small part of the country that believes these things, but mainstream Americans think it's a sideshow," Obama's chief adviser David Plouffe told ABC's 'This Week with Christiane Amanpour.' "That's not leadership, that's kind of sideshow behavior."

However, according to a Fox News poll, 24 percent of people agree with Trump and share his skepticism about the birthplace of the current president.

"Sideshow behavior" aside, there is the possibility that Trump could be the GOP candidate. In a recent Wall Street Journal poll, Trump tied for second with Mike Huckabee at 17 percent, Fox News reported.

Over the course of the next four weeks, the Minneapolis Public Works crew will sweep all 1,100 miles of city streets.
The annual clean-up is meant to remove the grime, dirt and sand that was left behind from the MInnesota snow of 2010-11.
If weather permits, the sweeping will begin on Tuesday, according to a report from Kare 11 News.
Restrictions that residents should be aware of include no parking from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on the day the street is swept. To aide those who will be affected, "No Parking" signs will be put into place.
In order to avoid fines and tickets, the City of Minneapolis is advising residents to keep their vehicles off the street until those signs are removed.
Although this may be an inconvenience to some, the city assures that "sweeping keeps leaves and debris from clogging storm drains and polluting lakes and rivers," according to a report from the Star Tribune.
To prepare citizens living in Minneapolis, the city will make approximately 3,500 automated phone call each night to let residents know that their street will be swept the following day.

Stillwater Lift Bridge closed Friday morning

On Friday morning at 9 a.m., the Lift Bridge in Stillwater closed in anticipation to the rising St. Croix River.
According to the National Weather Service, the river will crest for a second time at approximately 688 feet this Tuesday.
The first crest of the St. Croix River occurred in March.
In response to this flooding Gov. Mark Dayton plans to visit the site and observe flood levels Friday afternoon, Fox 9 News reported.
In addition to speaking with Stillwater Mayor Ken Harycki for a briefing on the situation, he will also meet with the executive council to discuss extending the flood emergency originally declared on April 6.
According to MinnPost, Dayton came to Stillwater last month in support of a new bridge south of Stillwater, but the project was scraped due to environmental issues.
However, the need to close the Lift Bridge may support the new entity that would connect to Hwy. 36 in Oak Park Heights.
Congresswomen Michele Bachmann is also in support of the bridge for safety and developmental reason, MinnPost reported.
In the mean time, traffic managers told the Star Tribune that they suggest motorists who usually cross the Lift Bridge use the Interstate 94 Bridge instead, connecting the east metro with Hudson, Wis.

Two British reporters arrested in phone-hacking scandal

On Tuesday, two British reporters were arrested on suspicion of unlawfully intercepting phone messages, The New York Times reported.
According to the Los Angeles Times, authorities will not release their names but other media outlets have named them Neville Thurlbeck and Ian Edmondson.
Thurlbeck is the chief reporter for News of the World and Edmondson was the news editor of the same tabloid until he was fired in January of this year.
The two men allegedly hacked into the cell phones of movie stars, athletes and other celebrities, hoping to get information for their publication.
Public figures that have complained about their phones being hacked include actress Sienna Miller and former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott.
However, this is not the first time News of the World has had a run-in with the law.
In 2007, former reporter Clive Goodman spent time in jail for supposedly intercepting the messages of Prince William and Prince Harry to their aides.
According to the Los Angeles Times, News of the World is now under investigation for several breech-of-privacy lawsuits.
Before being released on bail, the homes of Thurlbeck and Edmondson were searched by detectives.

FBI needs help decoding a decade old murder

In June of 1999, 41-year-old Ricky McCormick was found dead near St. Louis, Mo. with nothing but a couple of papers in his pocket.
The papers, supposedly written by McCormick, contained codes that the FBI have been unable to crack for the past decade, according to the Associated Press.
Utilizing top cryptologists and cryptanalysts on-and-off since 2001, the government bureau is finally turning to the public to ask for help.
"We are really good at what we do, but we could use some help with this one," said Dan Olson, chief of the FBI Laboratory's Cryptanalysis & Racketeering Records Unit, who believes that decoding McCormick's messages could lead to solving his murder.
However there are doubts.
Police are still trying to decode the messages from the serial Zodiac killer from the 1960s and 1970s.
Since calling out for help last week, the FBI has received over 1,000 tips, prompting them to create a website to collect submissions, New Scientist reported.
Officials hope that someone has a sample of McCormick's code or a similar pattern that they could compare it to.
According to the Associated Press, Olson believes that the answer will come from a non-cryptological source.