April 2011 Archives

By Calvin Swanson:

A 29-year-old Roseville man has been arrested on the suspicion of murder after he struck three people walking on a sidewalk, killing one of them and driving off last week.

Police arrested Timothy Ayman Bakdash Thursday at his workplace, according to a St. Paul Pioneer Press article. He is being held at Hennepin County jail without bail due to the probable cause of attempted murder, according to a Star Tribune article.

Benjamin Van Handel, 23, of Appleton Wis., died Thursday, six days after he was struck by Bakdash's car just outside of Dinkytown, according to the Star Tribune. Bakdash's car was traveling the wrong way on SE. 5th Street near 12th Avenue. Two pedestrians, Katelynn Hanson, 21, and Sarah Bagley, 21, were also hit but did not suffer any serious injuries.

It is not know whether the suspect was under the influence of drugs or aclohol, according to the Star Tribune. The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported information from witnesses led police to Backdash.

MLB takes over Dodgers

By Calvin Swanson

Major League Baseball has taken control of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization due to the team's financial woes stemming from the owner's bitter divorce that happened in 2009.

The Dodgers financial situation has been worsened by co-owners Jamie McCourt and Frank McCourt's grueling divorce that started one week after Frank fired Jamie, Dodger's chief executive, accusing her of having an affair with her bodyguard-driver and performing poorly at work, according to an ESPN article.

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig had not taken action during the past 18 months until Wednesday, according to an LA Times article. Selig announced he would appoint a trustee to oversee the club due to concerns with the team's financial issues.

After Selig's announcement was made, Frank stated the team had been following MLB's financial guidelines and that he was puzzled by Selig's decision. According to the LA Times, Frank is expected to challenge Selig's decision in court.

Lynx select Uconn great with first pick

By Calvin Swanson

After an illustrious four-year college career with the Connecticut Huskies, Maya Moore has another feat to be proud of. The Minnesota Lynx made the superstar guard the number one overall pick in the WNBA draft Monday

Moore led UConn to two national titles, a 90-game winning streak and a 150-4 record during her four-year tenure, according to a Star Tribune report. The former two-time AP player of the year averaged 22.8 points-per-game this season, according to a ESPN article.

The Lynx organization now has something to smile about and can finally be optimistic coming off another dismal season where the Lynx went 13-21, according to ESPN. The franchise has made only two playoff appearances and has yet to win a playoff series, according to the Star Tribune.

The Star Tribune reported Moore's college career came to close after losing to Notre Dame 72-63 in the Final Four. Moore put up 36 points in the Huskies' loss.

ESPN reported Moore is the second straight number one overall pick out of UConn. Tina Charles was selected with the first pick by the Connecticut Sun in 2010 and went on to win the WNBA's rookie of the year award.

Assad brings promises, Syrians still protest

By Calvin Swanson

Thousands of Syrian protesters scampered the streets Sunday, making their anti-government concerns heard.

On Saturday, Syrian President Basher Assad promised to lift emergency laws, which have been in place for decades, that allowed security forces to arrest suspected dissidents, according to a LA Times article. Despite Assad's promises, Syrians continued to protest and have been protesting the past few weeks.

More than 200 have been killed because of the protests and dozens have been arrested, according to a BBC article.

The protests have been sparked by the citizens' lack of confidence in their government, and recent reaction suggests that the people are not still not satisfied, despite the government's moves.

Protests have broke out in several prominent Syrian cities, the LA Times reported, cities such as Aleppo, Baniyas, Duma, Zamalka, Harasta, Homs and Latakia.

The BBC reported the rallies were held on Syria's Independence Day, which marked the day, 65 years ago when French soldiers departed.

Tornados devestate North Carolina, southern U.S.

By Calvin Swanson

A large storm, which spawned dozens of tornados, killed at least 43 people and has damgaged several homes as it passed through several southern states from Oklahoma to North Carolina.

The storm severely injured 130 people and left more than 84,000 people without power, according to a NY Times article. North Carolina, which was hit with the worst storm in two decades, reported 62 tornados Saturday night, according to a LA Times article.

The storm system started Thursday night in Oklahoma where it killed five people, according to the LA Times. The storm then proceeded to hit Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Virginia leaving casualties in each state.

Maybe the worst-hit county was North Carolina's Bertie County, according to the NY Times. At least 10 people were killed and at least 50 were seriously injured in Bertie County, which is located 130 miles east of Raleigh.

The NY times reported North Carolina's death toll may have been higher if it was not for a manager at a Lowe's home improvement store in Sanford, 40 miles southwest of Raleigh. The manager's decision to relocate more than 100 customers and employees to the store's offices in the back may have saved several lives, the NY Times stated. The front of the store collapsed because of the storm, but no one was seriously injured because they were in cover in offices that were in a more fortified location.

The LA times reported the North Carolina Governor declared a state of emergency.

Cuba celebrates 50 year anniversary of Bay of Pigs

By Calvin Swanson

One of the largest military and civilian parades was performed at the Revolution Plaza in Havana Cuba Saturday. Thousands of soldiers high-stepped their way through the streets, while hundreds of thousands of civilians joined in.

The country is celebrated the 50-year anniversary of the defeat over Cuban exiles trained by American CIA in an attempt to overthrow party leader Fidel Castro, according to a BBC article. The parade also celebrated the 50-year mark of Castro's proclamation that Cuba is not democratic but socialist.

Chants of "Long live Fidel!" rang the streets of Havana, while helicopters and airplanes crowded the skies above, according to a MSNBC article.

Raul Castro, 79, Fidel's brother and present leader of Cuba, assembled the military personnel for the festivities, according to MSNBC. Fidel, 84, was not seen at the parade.

Despite the celebration of socialism, the BBC reported President Raul Castro stated the country must reduce the role of government, and that it must encourage more private enterprise while moving forward.

Zombies attack campus

By Calvin Swanson

Students across the University of Minnesota may be armed with Nerf guns in case of a zombie attack. Buildings are safe zones, while the sidewalks and streets are unsafe from the blood-thirsty undead.

More than 100 University of Minnesota students a participating in a week long game of Humans vs. Zombies, according the Minnesota Daily, and is hosted by the Minnesota Association for Zombie Enthusiasts. MAZE is the only University student group that is dedicated to zombies, according to the MAZE website.

The game started Monday in the Northrop Mall area and has been played throughout the entire Twin Cities campus, according to the Minnesota Daily. The rules are simple, survive.

The game starts out with six zombies whose goals is to tag humans and turn them into zombies, according to the Minnesota Daily. The rest of the people are humans, and they must survive by not being tagged by a zombie.

Humans are allowed to be armed with a Nerf gun, which stuns the zombie allowing the human to get away, and also wear a bright-yellow band on their arm. Zombies meanwhile, are equipped with nothing but hunger and a band on their hear, according to the Minnesota Daily.

All participants are required to register on the Humans vs. Zombies website, the Daily stated.

Schwartzel wins Masters

by Calvin Swanson

Relatively unknown golfer Charl Schwartzel won the 2011 Masters with a final round of 6 under par to wrap up a final score of 14 under par at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia.

The Masters is 26-year-old South African native's first career major, and it came on day where the competition was wide open. During one point in the final day of tournament, there were nine players within two shots of the lead, according to a NY Times article. One of them was Tiger Woods.

Woods climbed to the top of the leaderboard after shooting a -5 on the front nine, according to a LA Times article. He could not find his rhythm on the back nine, shooting even par and finishing at -10 for the tournament.

Twenty-one-year-old Rory McIlroy came into the final day at Augusta with a four-shot lead, but could not handle the pressure staying atop the best golfers in the world. He finished for a tie of 15th after shooting a dismal round of an 80, according to the LA Times.

The NY Time reported that Schwartzel's victory came 50 years after Gary Player became the first South African to win the Masters, or any other major title. The La Times reported Schwartzel's next best finish at a Masters tournament was a tie for 30th in 2010.

Twelve kids shot and killed in Brazilian school

By Calvin Swanson

A gunman shot and killed ten girls and two boys ranging in age from 12 to 15 at a Brazilian elementary school Thursday.

The gunman, identified as Wellington Oliveira, 23, lined the children up against a wall before he shot each of them in the head at point-blank range, according to a Washington Post article. Oliveira, who had two handguns in his possession, shot and killed himself after being confronted by the police.

Oliveira was a former student of the Tasso da Silveira, the elementary school where the shooting took place, according to a BBC article. There is no clear motive of why he gun-downed the children at school.

The first funerals for the 12 children were held Friday atop hill overlooking Tasso da silveira, according to the Washington Post. More than a thousand people gathered for the events. This is the beginning of a three-day national morning for the victims, according to the BBC.

The Washington Post reported Brazilian crime experts stated this was the worst school shooting in the country's history.

The BBC reported Oliveira left a suicide not at the scene, and it gave detailed instructions on how he wanted to be buried, but it gave no reasons why he decided to attack the school.

Police chase ends with taxi hijacker dead

By: Calvin Swanson

A 40-minute car chase ended with officers opening fire and killing a taxi cab hijacker in northern Anoka County Thursday.

The chase began in Minneapolis and ended just south of Forest Lake after the suspect hit spike strips and went into the ditch, according to a Star Tribune report. The subject was armed with a handgun, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported. The police then approached the suspect before opening fire and killing the suspect.

No police officers were hurt during the incident. The suspect's name will not be released until an autopsy is performed, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

The chase started at 5:00 a.m. near the Lowry Tunnel in Minneapolis when the suspect proceeded to rob a cab driver before it turned into a carjacking, according to the Star Tribune. The Red and White Taxi cab driver is doing fine.

The carjacker then drove through the north metro before ending up on I-35 northbound, according to the Pioneer Press. The suspect went into the ditch after striking spike strips, which were placed by officers on I-35 at 80th Street.

The Pioneer Press reported that it is unknown whether officers were threatened by the armed subject, and that officers have yet to be identified. I-35 was closed for nearly eight hours while investigators checked into the matter, according to the Star Tribune.

Uconn cuts down the nets; Butler silenced in defeat

By Calvin Swanson

It may have been the ugliest championship game in NCAA Division I college basketball history, but, despite its lack of glamour, it was still a pretty ending for a remarkable run by the Connecticut Huskies.

Uconn defeated the Butler Bulldogs 53-41 Monday night in Houston, capping an improbable run where they won 11 straight games, according to a Washington Post article. This is the 3rd championship since 1999 for the Huskies and head coach Jim Calhoun, 68, who became the oldest coach to win a national championship.

The game was an offensive struggle to say the least. Butler lead Uconn at the end of the first half 22-19 but could not get past the Huskies' pesky defense in the final 20 minutes. The Bulldogs shot a dismal 12-64 from the field, which is 18.8 percent, the worst ever in a title game, according to an ESPN article.

The Huskies' (32-9) dominant run was lead junior All-American Kemba Walker who finished the game with 16 points and was named the Final Four's most outstanding player, the Washington Post reported.

This is second year in a row the Bulldogs (28-10) have walked off the big stage as runner-ups. Butler could not find its offensive rhythm and was outmanned by Uconn's size and athletic ability. Butler was outscored 26-2 in the paint and only made one field goal in a 13 minute span in the second half, according to ESPN.

The Washington Post reported the Huskies missed the tournament last year and finished the regular season ninth in the Big East conference in 2011. This was before the Huskies won five games in five days to win the Big East tournament and snag a three seed in the Big Dance.

ESPN reported the Huskies were perfect in tournament games this year, going 14-0 in the NCAA tournament, the Big East tournament and the Maui Invitational.

Target Field beer man won't be returning

By: Calvin Swanson

Wally McNeil (known as Wally the Beer Man) will not be yelling out "get your cold beer" at Target Field anymore after he was acquitted for selling alcohol to a minor last September at the stadium.

McNeil, 76, of Plymouth, decided to step away from the beer vending gig, and instead of handing out cold beers in a open-air stadium on a Minnesota summer day, McNeil will be bartending three blocks away at Sneaky Pete's, before and after every Twins game, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.

The Star Tribune reported, McNeil will likely head over to Target Field during some of the games to watch the Twins battle it out on the diamond and to socialize with fans.

McNeil had been selling "cold ones" to Twins fans since 1982, according to the Pioneer Press, even before the Twins won their first World Series Title in 1987.

The Star Tribune reported McNeil was aquitted on charges of selling alcohol to minors in 2010, while the St. Paul Pioneer Press stated he was aquitted on charges of selling alcohol to a minor. The St. Paul Pioneer Press also reported that McNeil said the union thought he could get his job back, but he decided it was time to move on.

India's population rises slowly during past decade

By: Calvin Swanson

India's population has risen to 1.21 billion people due to its population increase of more than 181 million people in the last decade.

The increase of 1.21 billion people, which is about the entire population of Pakistan, makes India the world's second most populated nation only to China, according to a NY Times article. The past decade's population growth was 17.6 percent, which is down from 21.5 percent from 1991-2001. India's growth percentage is the lowest since India's independence in 1947, according to a Washington Post article.

Despite the growth in the country, there are concerns amongst the heavily-populated country. The Washington Post reports Indian citizens' preference of keeping sons over daughters is causing abortions of female fetuses and infants. The ratio of girls to boys for children age 6 and younger has dropped to 914 girls per 1000 boys, the lowest in India's history.

Indians prefer to raise male children over females because they see daughters as a financial burden, according to the Washington Post article. The trend is more popular in the educated states such as Punjab and Gujarat.

Despite the birth concerns, the NY Times article states female literacy rates are up, and the country's overall literacy rate, 74 percent, is up 9 percent.


Optimism grows in the U.S. economy

By: Calvin Swanson

The U.S. unemployment rate dropped from 8.9 percent down to 8.8 percent, marking the fourth consecutive month that unemployment rates fell by a percentage point.

The U.S. economy created 216,000 jobs in March, which is more than U.S. Department of Labor expected, according to a BBC article. The 8.8 percent rate is the lowest since March 2009, according to the LA Times.

The decreasing trend in unemployment is because of the success in private sector which added 230,000 jobs this year, but local governments on the downswing, cutting 16,000 jobs in March and 46,000 in February, according to the LA Times.

Most of the private sector jobs created were in factories, shops, health care, education and in several financial services, the BBC stated.

If the government and U.S. employers are able to retain these rates, economists predict roughly 2.5 million new jobs will be created by the end of 2011, according to the BBC.

The LA Times reported unemployment rates have steadily decreased since November and in the last two years overall. In 2011, 3.7 million people have received unemployment compensation, which is the lowest figure since October 2008, and is significantly down from the unemployment peak in mid 2009 where 6.6 million were receiving unemployment benefits.

The BBC reports analysts are worried about the rise in oil and gas prices, and that they could negatively affect the economy.

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This page is an archive of entries from April 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

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