Recently in National News Category

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.

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.

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.

In the last three months, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann raised $2.2 million from January to March, the Associated Press reported.
Her intensive fundraising tactics have caused some to question whether or not this money will be used to support her 2012 race for president as a GOP candidate.
Even though she has not yet announced that she will run for president, Bachmann has already surpassed the fundraising numbers of GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney, according to The Christian Science Monitor.
Romney has only raised $1.9 million for his Free & Strong America Political Action Committee.
From Bachmann's $2.2 million, $1.7 million came in for her congressional reelection campaign and $500,000 for her political action committee, MichelePAC.
Through MichelePAC, she aids other GOP candidates.
In 2010, Bachmann pulled off another successful fundraising stint when she raised $13 million. That is the most than any other congressional candidate in the country.
Although Bachmann has a strong history of fundraising success, there will be other challenges she faces in the race for president.
Compared to her GOP counterparts, Bachmann has not had as much political experience, The Christian Science Monitor reported.
She has served two terms in the US House and three terms in the Minnesota Senate.

The wrestling past of Allen Ruby

Allen Ruby is best known as the lead lawyer in the case against Barry Bonds, the former San Francisco Giants player whose charges include lying to a federal grand jury about knowingly using performance-enhancing supplements, the Associated Press reported.
However, his wrestling past prepared him for challenges in the courtroom.
Before going to Stanford Law School, Ruby wrestled professionally and his upbringing played a large role in his passion for the sport.
"My dad was a wrestler, and then a wrestling booking agent and a wrestling booking promoter," Ruby told the Associated Press. "And it was a family business, so I wrestled and announced and did various things in and around the business basically until I went to law school."
Although wrestling does not seem to have much of a connection to studying law, Ruby said he wanted to be a lawyer ever since he was seven years old.
Turning 66 in July, Ruby said he can't imagine having any other career where he would get to meet so many interesting people, the Associated Press reported.
In the courtroom, Ruby commands attention. He is dramatic with his motions and skeptically cross examines those on the stand.
Besides the case against Bonds, Ruby has defended NFL players and political leaders, such as Ron Gonzales, the former San Jose Mayor.
So far in the case against Bonds, Allen has been in the public eye as the representative for the team. He has displayed his cut-throat techniques with his "opening statements" and "unrelenting cross examinations," The Recorder reported.

A legend passes away at 79 years of age

After spending six weeks in the hospital, Hollywood icon, Elizabeth Taylor, passed away from congestive heart failure at the age of 79, the Associated Press reported.
Taylor was the epitome of Hollywood royalty, staring in films such as "A Place in the Sun," "Cleopatra," and "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof." Throughout her career she won three academy awards and a lifetime achievement award from the American Film Institute in 1993.
Although she may have appeared flawless on screen, her off-screen life was complicated. Taylor was married eight times, including twice to Richard Burton and once to former Sen. John W. Warner.
Warner spoke of her "classic face and majestic eyes," according to the Associated Press.
Once news of her death spread, many other Hollywood figures had nothing but good things to say about Taylor.
Elton John was reported to have said she embodied "the very essence of glamourous movie stardom."
Joan Collins called her "the last true Hollywood icon."
Besides her work in Hollywood, Taylor was also part of the fight against AIDS as a supporter of research. She was recognized by the American Foundation for AIDS Research for standing up for those with the disease, even when HIV was new to the industry.
Fans who admired Taylor from afar have flocked to Twitter and her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame to pay their respects and grieve for the lost legend, the Los Angeles Times reported.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Taylor was laid to rest in Forest Lawn Cemetery after a private service in the Grand Mausoleum on Thursday.

Obama stands for women's rights

On Saturday, President Barack Obama promised to continue the push to gain equal rights for women.
Included in his efforts are the issues of fair wages, poverty and access to education in higher professions such as math and engineering, the Associated Press reported.
"At a time when folks across this country are struggling to make ends meet -- and many families are just trying to get by on one paycheck after a job loss -- it's a reminder that achieving equal pay for equal work isn't just a women's issue," Obama said in his weekly address. "It's a family issue."
According to The Wall Street Journal, Obama is working with legislators to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act. The president attempted to pass this bill in the past, but it was blocked by the Senate.
Republicans feared that passing this bill, which fell short by just 60 votes, would open up litigation to employers by getting rid of punitive and compensatory damage awards, the Associated Press reported.
However Obama is going to try again, stating that the unequal wages are a problem.
"Today, women still earn on average only about 75 cents for every dollar a man earns," he said. "That's a huge discrepancy."

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