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February 28, 2008

Man throws woman into highway

An enraged driver threw a Prior Lake mother into rush-hour traffic on Thursday on Hwy. 169, the Star Tribune reported.

Jennifer Boulden, 34, had made a U-turn on Hwy. 169 just south of Shakopee when a man coming fast behind her started honking. The man motioned Boulden to pull over.

After Boulden stopped, the man got out of his pickup and began to yell at Boulden. She followed him back to his truck, trying to apologize, when he turned around and grabbed the 5-foot-5, 125-pound mother of five and threw her.

Several Good Samaritans moved Boulden out of the highway and onto the shoulder, where her car was parked. She was released from the St. Francis Regional Medical Center in Shakopee on Thursday.

Police said that the man sped off after he threw Boulden and nobody got his license plate. Witnesses gave different descriptions of the truck and man, said Capt. Greg Muelken of the Scott County Sheriff’s office.

Road rage assaults do happen, but it is rare for a person to throw another into traffic. The state doesn’t collective road rage information, but State Patrol Mark Peterson said people drive too aggressively.

“I hear about fights, but not a man taking a female and throwing her on a road. That’s a new one for me,? Peterson said. “Do not play the game.? (Star Tribune)

WCCO reported that Boulden admits to not acting courteous, but that she never expected to be attacked.

“Just like a rag doll… he threw me right in the middle of the highway,? Boulden said. “I didn’t think people are like that. I mean, that they are, but you never think it would happen to you.? (WCCO)

February 26, 2008

Earthquake hits England

The Associated Press reported Wednesday morning that an earthquake was felt throughout much of England.

The earthquake was of a magnitude of 4.7 and centered about 125 miles north of London, the U.S. Geological Survey said. No one was reported to be hurt during the quake.

The quake was felt by many people throughout southern, central and northern England. Many reported their homes to be shaking. Tremors are uncommon in England and a quake of this magnitude can cause minor home damage.

“It was a strange sensation as the room, ornaments and chest of drawers started wobbling and making a loud rumbling noise,? David Sommerset, a man 60 miles from the epicenter, told the AP.

The BBC reported that the earthquake was the biggest recorded quake since a 5.4-magintude quake occurred in Wales in 1984.

Dr. Brian Baptie of the British Geological Survey said that the largest earthquake to strike England occurred off the east coast of England in June of 1931. That quake was recorded as having a magnitude of 6.1.

February 24, 2008

Clinton goes from angry to sarcastic

The New York Times reported on Saturday that Senator Hilary Rodham Clinton was angry over her democratic opposition Senator Barack Obama’s campaign mailing.

Mrs. Clinton accused Obama of dirty tactics by releasing leaflets in Ohio that said Senator Clinton was in favor of NAFTA. This is a big issue because the state has had controversy with people believing they have lost jobs over the NAFTA agreement.

“Shame on you, Barack Obama,? Mrs. Clinton said. “It is time you ran a campaign consistent with your message in public.? (New York Times)

A woman approached Mrs. Clinton after a rally and gave the leaflet to the senator. However, it was not the first time the senator had seen the leaflets, as she had seen it in an article by Newsday.

“Time and time again, you hear on thing in speeches and then you see a campaign that has the worst kind of tactics, reminiscent of the same sort of Republican attacks on Democrats,? Mrs. Clinton said. (New York Times)

One problem facing Mrs. Clinton is her husband, former President Bill Clinton, was a supporter of NAFTA legislation, which could be a problem with Ohio’s blue collar workings.

However, the tone changed on Sunday as Senator Clinton went from being angry over Obama’s campaign to sarcasm, the New York Times reported.

“Now I could stand up here and say, let’s get everybody together, let’s get unified the sky will open, the light will come down, celestial choirs will be singing,? Senator Clinton said. “But I have no illusions about how hard this is going to be. You are not going to wave a magic wand and make the special interests disappear.?
(New York Times)

Mrs. Clinton has been trying hard to gain votes for the upcoming primaries in Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island and Vermont on March 4. She has been attempting to change how Mr. Obama has been portraying her as a hardnosed realist.

Polls suggest that a tight race is going on Texas and Ohio, which contain many delegates. Mrs. Clinton has lost 11 straight primaries to Mr. Obama.

The information has changed from the first story from the second by changing the mood in which the story is given. In the story on Saturday it appears that Mrs. Clinton is angry and is trying to fight against Mr. Obama’s allegations. However, on Sunday it feels like Mrs. Clinton doesn’t care about the allegations and is just going on with her campaign without any worries. The second story tells of Senator Clinton’s mood and what is coming up. In the Saturday story, the New York Times just talks about the allegations and not of the upcoming primaries, which they discuss in more detail in the Sunday story.

Tottenham beats Chelsea to win the Carling Cup

The BBC reported Sunday that the Tottenham Hotspur came from behind to beat the Chelsea Blues 2-1 in overtime at Wembley Stadium in London.

The Spurs beat Chelsea in extra-time to win the Carling Cup, which was Tottenham’s first trophy in nine years. Consequently, the victory prevented Chelsea from earning their third Carling Cup trophy in four years.

It took only four minutes for the Spurs to score in extra-time as Chelsea’s goalkeeper Peter Cech knocked a Jermaine Jenas free-kick into Spur’s defender Jonathon Woodgate. Woodgate headed the ball into the empty net in front of a crowd of 87,660.

Chelsea tried to answer with attacks from Frank Lampard and Salomon Kalou, but both shots were saved by Spur’s goalkeeper Paul Robinson.

The scoring started in the first half when Chelsea’s forward Didier Drogba curled a free-kick into the bottom left of Robinson’s goal. Neither team could gather a goal and Chelsea went into halftime with a narrow lead.

Twenty minutes after the break the Spurs brought the game onto equal grounds. Chelsea’s defender Wayne Bridge was called for a handball in the penalty area, which gave the Spurs a penalty opportunity. Tottenham sent their Bulgarian forward Dimitar Berbatov, who promptly put the ball into the back of the net.

Both sides had several opportunities, but in the end, extra-time was imminent. It took only four minutes before the Spurs scored on Cech’s blunder.

Reuters reported that Tottenham’s Coach Juande Ramos won his first trophy with Tottenham, after taking over as coach midway through the season. Ramos is 100 percent in cup finals.

The victory gives the Spurs automatic entry into UEFA Cup football next season. Additionally, Spurs fans were happy to see the return of star defender Ledley King, who had been out for a month.

“This is a beautiful experience,? Ramos said. “It’s tremendously satisfying to get the title and the trophy for the fans and the club. It’s a long time since we achieved success and for such a big club like Spurs it seems even longer.? (Reuters)

February 23, 2008

South Korean president-elect cleared of fraud

South Korean’s president-elect Lee Myung-bak was cleared Thursday of fraud accusations, four days before his inauguration, the New York Times reported.

Mr. Lee became the first president-elect in South Korea to go through a criminal investigation. Lee was alleged to have been involved in stock price manipulation, according to special prosecutor Chung Ho Young. However, Lee’s former business partner Kim Kyung Joon is still on trial on the charges of stock manipulation, embezzlement and forgery.

After being cleared of the allegations, Lee said he wanted to continue with his puplan to improve South Korea’s slowing economy. He plans to ratify a free trade agreement with the United States and have corporate deregulation.

“I am relieved that my new government can now start without burdens,? Lee said. (New York Times)

Despite the allegations, Lee won a landslide victory in the South Korean elections on Dec. 19. Prosecutors were given 40 days to hold an investigation before Lee’s inauguration. After questioning Lee and others, nothing could be found to show Lee did any wrong doing.

The BBC reported that Lee was also cleared of charges that he purchased a plot of land under another name.

Lee’s inauguration is in four days with several international leaders attending the event. A couple of leaders include Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Suicide man identified as missing man

The Star Tribune reported Friday that a man who committed suicide on Feb. 19, 2003 was identified by the Hennepin County medical examiner’s office as Sean Rush.

For five years, officials have been trying to identify a 22-year-old man who jumped off a parking ramp at the Mall of America in Bloomington. Not much was known about the man and little was released until his burial.

Coincidentally, three weeks later Rush was reported missing by the St. Paul police. No connection was made because the dates did not match, police said.

However, Rush’s family had investigators look into the case to see if the suicide victim was Rush. The family gave police DNA samples that allowed them to identify the man as Rush, Tom Walsh, the St. Paul police spokesman, said.

The Pioneer Press reported that the police made a composite sketch of the unidentified man, but Rush’s parents did not see it because they do not live in Minnesota.

Rush was buried in St. Paul’s Oakland Cemetery after he could not be identified after 11 months. Donations were made to give Rush a simple granite headstone that is only engraved with the year he died. Rush’s family hasn’t decided what they want to do yet with the grave.

“I’m glad to know where he is, but I’m just so sad that he was so lost that he felt there was no place to turn,? Sheila Hellerich, Rush’s mother, said.. “It’s really hard for me to figure out. He must have been in so much pain he wasn’t thinking right.? (Pioneer Press)

February 22, 2008

Houston Rockets win eleventh straight game

The Houston Chronicle reported Friday that the Houston Rockets won their eleventh straight game against the New Orleans Hornets in New Orleans.

The Rockets dominated the game and ended up with a 100-80 victory of the Hornets, who were sitting atop the Western Conference standings. The win gave Houston it’s 10th straight road win and continued their winning steak to 11, which is the longest since the start of the 1993-94 season.

Coming in, New Orleans had a five game winning streak of their own. A few of the teams they defeated were the Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs, Denver Nuggets and Dallas Mavericks.

The Rockets were lead by their two stars Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady. Yao scored 28 points on 12-of-21 shooting with 14 rebounds. McGrady finished with 34 points on 14-of-26 shooting with six assists.

The Associated Press reported that it was a difficult task for the Hornets to guard 7-foot-6 inch center Ming. He went up against Tyson Chandler of the Hornets, but being on seven foot, it was easy for Ming to get the easy shots.

New Orleans all-star Chris Paul finished with 14 points and 11 assists. David West led the Hornets with 20 points on 7-of-17 shooting.

This was the first game between the two teams since making a trade on Thursday. Houston sent Bonzi Wells and Mike James to New Orleans for Bobby Jackson and several other players.

The game took place in front of a sellout crowd of 17,714, in New Orleans Arena, which was only the third sellout this season. In addition, this was the eighth team in their last game that Houston was able to hold to under 90 points.

February 18, 2008

Como Zoo’s orangutan given a name

The Como Zoo announced Monday that after a four-week contest that allowed the public to vote on a name, Jaya was picked as the new name for the zoo’s baby orangutan, the Star Tribune reported.

The contest allowed members of the public to donate money to the name of their favorite choice. The public chose the name Jaya, which means “victorious? or “celebration? in Indonesian. It beat out other names Pandu, which means scout or leader, and Bejo, which means lucky.

In the end, Jaya received 32,564 votes that amounted to $325.64. Each vote was a penny and the Como Zoo was able to generate $767.52 from the contest. Some of the money will go to the Conservatory Society’s contribution to an orangutan training program.

Jaya had been born Dec. 13 through a cesarean section, which was only the ninth such one done in captivity, zoo officials said.

The Pioneer Press reported that this was the second time that Jaya’s mother, Markisa, had given birth. The first time took place in 2005, but that pregnancy ended with a stillborn birth.

“Not only was the survival a huge victory, but it was a victory for Como and for Markisa, to finally be a mom,? said Megan Elder, primate zookeeper and lead orangutan trainer at the Como Zoo. (Pioneer Press)

February 17, 2008

Kosovo announces independence

In the BBC’s report of Kosovo’s announcement of independence from Serbia, the reporter separated the information into different categories.

The reporter starts off the article by giving the most important information, which is the fact that Kosovo has announced independence. Then, the reported splits the rest of the information into categories so that they could stay on one topic and transition to another with clarity. For instance, the author uses bolded text and a title to tell the reader when a new topic is coming. This allows the author to present all the information surrounding the declaration for independence.

Furthermore, I believe by separating the information through different topics that it allows the reader to go through the article with ease. It allows for smooth transitions that keep the information interesting.

The only thing that the reporter did not do well was put the information in the correct order. They go from celebrations to information then to protest and then back to celebrations. I believe that they should have put information that was similar, even though separated by topics, together because it would have made things well organized.

Kosovo claims independence from Serbia

The BBC reported that Kosovo’s parliament unanimously voted on Sunday to declare independence from Serbia.

Prime Minister Hashim Thaci announced that Kosovo would be a democratic nation that does not discriminate against anyone.

The United States and other European Union nations are expected to recognize the new nation on Monday. However, the Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica has denounced the U.S. for helping Kosovo secede from Serbia

Protesters at the U.S. embassy in Belgrade pelted the building with stones and shouted remarks like “Kosovo is the heart of Serbia.? Elsewhere, in the town of Mitrovica in a Serbian area in Kosovo, hand grenades were thrown into international community buildings. One did not explode and the other went off in a United Nations court.

A different scene unfolded in Kosovo’s capital of Pristina. Tens of thousands of people went into the streets after Kosovo’s parliament announced independence. People lit off firecrackers and fired guns off to celebrate their new freedom.

Prime Minister Thaci claimed that Kosovo will use a U.N. plan that was drawn up by former Finnish President, Martti Ahtisaari. Some plans include an international presence and Kosovo cannot join another nation.

“We have waited for this day for a very long time,? Thaci said. “From today, Kosovo was proud, independent and free.? (BBC)

Kosovo has a population of about 2 million people, 90 percent of which are of Albanian ancestry, reported the Los Angeles Times. The main population follows the Muslim religion and is pro-western.

Russia called an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Sunday. Three European Union states have already announced that they will not recognize the new nation. They are Cyprus, Romania and Slovakia, a BBC correspondent said.

February 16, 2008

California votes still being counted

The New York Times reported that votes from the California primary on February 5th are still being counted.

Officials throughout the state were overloaded with absentee ballots and have had to go through a slow process of getting them accounted for. Stephen Weir, the registrar in Contra Costa County, just east of San Francisco, has spent the past two weeks ironing out ballots to get them ready to be counted.

“Last election, the clerk ironed about 13,000 ballots,? Weir said. “You’re getting back ballots that are coffee- and God-knows-what-stained. That slows things down, too.? (New York Times)

A high voter turnout and millions of mailed-in ballots has caused slow returns in many counties. In all, 800,000 ballots still need to be processed, election officials said.

In Los Angeles County, around 205,000 mail-in ballots still need tallied. In addition, state officials don’t know what to do with 49,000 ballots that don’t say which party they voted for.

California law allows independent voters to vote in primaries for the Democratic and American Independent Parties. However, they cannot vote for the Republican Party. Voters were supposed to mark which party they were voting for, but many did not.

The results from the primaries, however, are not being questioned. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton won the Democratic Party delegates and Senator John McCain won the Republican Party delegates.

The Vallejo Times Herald reported that it is not unusual for votes to take a while to be counted, according to Napa Registrar of Voters John Tutuer. Tutuer said that many votes come in a few days before the primary and it takes time to sort out the ballots.

The final results will be posted at the end of the month, said Tutuer.

February 13, 2008

Hezbollah leader killed

The New York Times reported that Hezbollah’s leader was killed Tuesday night in Damascus, Syria from a car bombing, said Syrian officials.

Imad Mughniyeh, 45, was on the United States most wanted list for a history of terrorist acts. At one point, Mughniyeh had a bounty of $25 million. He was thought to have been involved in the 1983 bombings of the American Embassy in Beirut and hijacking a T.W.A. jetliner in 1985.

Hezbollah announced Tuesday night that a large explosive took place under a sport utility vehicle, killing the occupants of the car and damaging about 10 other vehicles. However, Hezbollah did not confirm who was killed in the explosion.

On Wednesday, the Syrian state news agency announced that Mughniyeh was killed in the blast. There is no news on who partook in the assassination, but the Syrian government is condemning the act.

“Syria, which condemns this cowardly terrorist act, expresses condolences to the martyr family and to the Lebanese people,? Interior Minister Bassam Abdul-Majeed said. (BBC)

Israel officially announced that they did not take part in the killing. In the past, Israel attacked a suspected nuclear site in the Syrian desert.

The BBC reported that the United States was happy over the death of Mughniyeh. In a statement, state department spokesman Sean McCormack said the United States does not know who is responsible for the attack, but applauds what they have done.

“The world is a better place without this man in it,? McCormack said. “He was a cold-blooded killer, a mass murderer and a terrorist responsible for countless innocent lives lost.? (BBC)

Hezbollah said a funeral service will be held in the southern suburbs of Beirut on Thursday.

Illinois win streak up to eighteen against Gophers

The Minnesota Golden Gophers lost to the Illinois Fighting Illini 84-60 Tuesday night in front of a sellout crowd at Williams Arena, reported the Pioneer Press.

The loss was Minnesota’s 18th straight defeat to Illinois and leaves the Gophers (15-8, 5-6 Big Ten) with questions about postseason play. Any NCAA birth that the Gophers were thinking of having is dwindling away as the Gophers lost yet another home game.

“We’ve had conversations about keeping our eyes on the prize,? Gopher coach Tubby Smith said. “When you get beat like this at home, that’s the last thing … I’m sure they’ve been talking about it among themselves.? (Pioneer Press)

Illinois is having a mediocre season (11-14, 3-9 Big Ten) and will probably not make any postseason play. However, the Illini came out and gave the Gophers their worst defeat since 2006.

The Star Tribune reported that the first half was about even between the two teams. Both squads shot 57 percent from the field, but the Illini went in at half with a six-point lead.

In the second half it was all Illinois as they brought their shooting percentage almost to 59 percent for the game. On the other hand, the Gophers came out stagnant and went 8-for-39 in the second half (21 percent). Illinois started the second half on a 28-9 run that basically sealed the victory for the visitors.

“I’ve got to give Illinois a lot of credit,? said Gopher center Spencer Tollackson. “They played good defense. We just couldn’t shoot.? (Star Tribune)

Illini big men Mike Tisdale and Shaun Pruitt combined for 23 points and five blocked shots.

The Gopher’s leading scorer for the game was freshman Blake Hoffarber, who had 11 points. Hoffarber hit three three-pointers, which broke Minnesota’s record of 51 three-pointers by a freshman. In all, Hoffarber has amassed 53 of them during his freshman season.

February 11, 2008

Como Zoo’s polar bear’s to move to Detroit during remodeling

The Star Tribune reported that the Como Zoo is making final arrangements to send its polar bears to the Detroit Zoo while the polar bear exhibit is under construction.

Officials for the Como Zoo said their first choice, Buffalo, rejected the offer to host Buzz and Neil because they did not have the facilities to support the bears. But with the advice from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan, the Como Zoo found a home in Detroit for the bears.

“Detroit Zoo is an industry leader in the exhibition, management and breeding of polar bears and we are pleased that the bears could be calling it home,? Michael Hahm, Director of the Como Park Zoo, said. “Our team is excited to be working with the Detroit Zoo and are confident that this will be a good placement for the bears.? (Star Tribune)

The AP reported that the bears will leave sometime around late winter to early spring. The bears are expected to return to the Como Zoo in 2010, when the Polar Bear Odyssey project will be completed.

The project will cost the Como Zoo $14.3 million and will have more than 13,140 square feet of natural landscape with soil and gravel. The exhibit will be outdoors and will also feature three pools for Neil and Buzz.

February 10, 2008

Prison Escape Analysis

In Pat Pheifer’s article “Prison inmates tried escape on burrowed time,? Pheifer used five sources to get the facts for the story. The sources are scattered throughout the article, but are clear because Pheifer stays with one source and then moves onto another. The information from each source is clear to understand and helps Pheifer tell where the information came from.
The information comes from people and some of the sources are: prison authorities, Warden Lynn Dingle, assistant commissioner in the Minnesota Department of Corrections David Crist, Deputy Corrections Commissioner Dennis Benson and Corrections Commissioner Joan Fabian.
Pheifer sets up the details of the prison-escape attempt by telling that prison officials gave the information. Then, Pheifer presents information that was gathered from the warden. Pheifer continues with information from the warden before explaining information that was obtained from Crist. Afterwards, Pheifer uses information from Benson and then Fabian to finish the story’s details. So, with every source Pheifer gives the name of the source and then presents what information they are bringing to the story.
In all, Pheifer’s information is effective in presenting the reader with good and clear information. The sources are the correct ones and help provide the reader with everything they need to know.

February 9, 2008

Tottenham beats Derby 3-0

Juande Ramos continued his winning ways as the Tottenham Hotspur beat the Derby County Rams 3-0 Saturday at Pride Park, reported the AFP.

A strong second-half performance gave the Spurs the soccer game and continued them on their winning ways since Ramos took over the squad. The win was only the second away win for the Spurs, while leaving the Rams with only one win in 26 games.

Robbie Keane, Younes Kaboul and substitute Dimitar Berbatov produced the second-half goals for Tottenham.

The first half ended with the Rams and the Spurs looking about even. However, things changed as the visitors took the lead from a goal from striker Robbie Keane. In the 60th minute, teammate Steed Malbranque fired a shot towards goal, but Rams’ goalkeeper Roy Carroll was able to knock the ball away. Unfortunately, Carroll pushed the ball towards Keane who tapped it in for his 20th goal of the season.

Kaboul continued the scoring at the 81st mark when he slotted a shot past Carroll from 15 yards out.

In the final minute of play, Alan Stubbs of Derby was called for a hand ball in the goalie box, which resulted in a penalty kick. Berbatov made the penalty shot and sealed the victory for the Spurs.

The BBC reported that the Rams had a chance to score in the 25th minute when Emmanuel Villa’s shot forced Spurs’ goalkeeper Radek Cerny into a well time save.

Spurs’ saw an early injury to defender Michael Dawson in the 16th minute. Kaboul came on as a substitute for Dawson, which is not a good sign for the already thin Spurs’ defense.

“It was tricky, especially in the opening hour, but the players are learning what we want from them and in the last half an hour we were fresher and took control,? said Tottenham assistant manager Gus Poyet. “(BBC)

February 8, 2008

Escape tunnel by inmates found

Stillwater authorities discovered a tunnel in the basement of one of the prison’s industry buildings Wednesday morning, reported the Star Tribune.

Four inmates, who worked in the area, are being investigated, but none of them escaped, according to prison officials. All inmates were accounted for and the tunnel was not close to the prison’s perimeter.

Warden Lynn Dingle said that the names of the inmates will not be given out because of potential criminal charges. He wouldn’t say what tools were used and the extent of the tunnel.

About 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, a prison supervisor discovered the tunnel and reported it, said David Crist, an assistant commissioner in the Minnesota Department of Corrections.

The prison has a walled perimeter around its maximum and minimum-security areas. Included in that, is the prison industry buildings where 350 inmates work six-hour days include manufacturing, paint shop, welding, machine shops and carpentry. Only 12 supervisors oversee these prison inmates.

The Pioneer Press reported that prison officials claimed that the tunnel wasn’t like “The Shawshank Redemption.?

Although unique, this wasn’t the first time an inmate found an unusual way to escape. In the past, inmates at other facilitations have tried escaping through shipping boxes and even a helicopter.

“I’ve learned over the years to never say never,? Dingle said. (Pioneer Press)

Missouri gunman kills 6 in St. Louis suburb

A Missouri man tore through a City Hall meeting Thursday night, killing three city officials and two police officers before being fatally shot by police officers, the Associated Press reported.

The gunman rushed into a Kirkwood, Mo. city meeting and began firing, while shouting “Shoot the mayor!? said St. Louis County Police spokeswoman Tracy Panus to the AP. Authorities fatally shot the suspect, but not after he had injured two more people.

The names of the victims will not be given out until a press conference Friday morning said Panus. One name, however, known is that of Mayor Mike Swoboda who is in critical condition at St. John’s Mercy Hospital.

The incident started around 7 p.m. when the gunman shot an officer outside of City Hall and then proceeded to head inside, said Panus. The shooter continued his rampage hitting police Officer Tom Ballman in the head, said Janet McNichols, a reporter covering the meeting for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

McNichols continued by saying that the gunman hit Public Works Director Kenneth Yost in the head. Other council members that got hit were Michael Lynch and Connie Karr. City Attorney John Hessel threw chairs at the gunman, trying to fight him off, said McNichols.

The police have not issued the identities of the gunman and the victims, but McNichols said that the shooter was Charles Lee Thornton. Thornton had a history of disrupting meetings and had been issued over 150 tickets.

The New York Times reported that in late January, Thornton had a lawsuit thrown out by a federal judge against the city of Kirkwood and its officials. Thornton claimed that he was being denied his freedom to speak at the council meetings.

Doreen Thornton, Mr. Thornton’s sister-in-law, said she didn’t understand what had happened and that Mr. Thornton had a 17-year-old daughter.

“Cookie [Thornton] never got mad.? Ms. Thornton said. “He was a people person. Cookie was known through his church to be a No. 1 kind of man.? (New York Times)

Gov. Matt Blunt gave a statement Thursday night.

"Tonight our fellow Missourians in the city of Kirkwood were terrorized by a senseless and horrific crime at an open government meeting," he said. "I join Missourians tonight in praying for the victims, their families and friends, and everyone in the community of Kirkwood." (AP)

February 6, 2008

Macy’s plans to close Minneapolis headquarters

The Star Tribune reported that on Wednesday Macy’s announced plans to close down their Minneapolis headquarters, which would result in the loss of 950 jobs.

In recent months, the Cincinnati-based retailer struggled with slow sales. To combat this, Macy’s decided to consolidate $150 million by releasing 2,300 jobs nationwide, which includes the shutting down of Macy’s North headquarters in Nicollet Mall.

Macy’s East headquarters in New York will take over the duties of for the northern region. Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren said that in spring Macy’s will hire about 40 district and regionally positions. These positions will make the decisions on whether Macy’s will continue to sponsor events like the spring flower show and the Holidazzle Parade.

“They’ll be in the best position to tell us what are the best places to donate because these are the places where our customers and employees are attached to,? said Lundgren. “We think community events are extremely important.? (Star Tribune)

The Pioneer Press reported that the districts will be based in major cities and will have small staffs that will report to the regional offices in Cincinnati, Seattle, Chicago and St. Louis.

During the same time on Wednesday, a different scene was unfolding at the Minneapolis Hilton. The Minneapolis Downtown Council praised Macys for its annual Holidazzle Parade.

“Macy’s was a one-company entertainment bonanza last year,? said Sam Grabarski, president and CEO of the council. (Star Tribune)

February 5, 2008

Thousands flee from Chad’s violence

Thousands of Chadian civilians fled the capital Monday, after fighting between rebels and government troops ceased, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Rebel leaders ended the two-day fighting to regroup and give civilians the chance to flee the capital of N’Djamena. Officials, however, claim that the fighting is not over and that rebels claim to attack again.

The United Nations granted France and other countries the ability to intervene in the violence on Monday. France vows to protect the Chadian government if called to do so. At the present time, France will work with the Chadian military in giving information on rebel forces.

Over 500 civilians were wounded in the past two days, according to humanitarian officials. More than 1,000 rebels entered the capital Saturday fighting government troops. This was the third coup attempt in Chad in the past three years.

The New York Times reported that a Sudanese rebel group joined French support to help aid the Chadian government. The group had been fighting the Sudanese government in Darfur for the past five years and left their bases in eastern Chad to fight the rebel opposition.

Four opposition leaders have been arrested in the past few days, said Reed Brody, an attorney at Human Rights Watch. At least three other opposition leaders have been arrested, but have not been heard from, according to the rights worker.

“These opposition leaders are at grave risk of being tortured or forcibly disappeared,? said Tawanda Hondora, director of the Africa program for Amnesty International. “The Chadian government seems to be using the current conflict with the armed opposition as a cover for arresting people peacefully opposed to government policy.? (New York Times)

The Chadian President Idriss Deby has been missing since the violence erupted during the weekend. He has not made a statement or made a public appearance.

In the past few years, Deby has increasingly lost popularity with the public. Deby altered the nation’s constitution in order to maintain his presidency, which he obtained in a 1990 coup of his own.

February 3, 2008

Ghana beats Nigeria 2-1 in the African Cup of Nations

On Sunday, Ghana beat Nigeria 2-1 in soccer to advance to the African Cup of Nations’ semifinals, the BBC reported.

Host-nation Ghana came from a goal down to beat rival Nigeria in their quarter-final match. Yakubu Ayegbeni gave Nigeria the lead in the 34th minute on a penalty, but failed to hold the lead when Michael Essien’s header put the score 1-1 at half-time.

Ghana played with 10 men for most of the second half when captain John Mensah was sent off for a challenge on Nigeria’s Osaze Odemwingie. In the 60th minute, Mensah took down Odemwingie as he ran towards the Ghanaian goal, which resulted in a red card.

“I don’t know whether John deserved a red card,? said Ghana coach Claude Le Roy. “The referee was very fast to send him off. This case was not clear cut.? (Yahoo Sports)

The winning goal came for Ghana at the 82nd mark, when Sulley Muntari produced a cross that teammate Junior Agogo put into the goal from four yards out.

Yahoo Sports reported that this was the first time Ghana had been behind during the Africa Cup. In the 2002 African Nations Cup, Nigeria knocked out Ghana in the quarterfinals in Egypt. The victory was only Ghana’s second win against Nigeria in the African Nations Cup.

Nigeria had the first chance at goal in the 11th minute when winger Ikechukwu Uche set up Yakubu, whose shot went wide.

Fourteen minutes later, Ghana striker Asamoah Gyan gave Ghana their first chance at goal when his left-footed shot hit the post.

After the intermission, Nigeria came close to going ahead after Uche produced a 40-yard lob that was pushed over the crossbar by Ghana goalkeeper Laryea Kingston

The last two African Nations Cups have been won by the host nation. Egypt won it in 2006 and Tunisia won it in 2004. Ghana looks to continue the trend as they face the winner of Monday’s quarter-final match between Tunisia and Cameroon.

February 2, 2008

Eagan man sentenced to 4 years in prison after crash

On Friday, a judge ruled that an Eagan man would be sentenced to four years in prison for killing a University of Minnesota student while driving under the influence, reported the Star Tribune.

Logan H. McFarland ran a stoplight on Jan. 28, 2007 in Apple Valley and struck the car of university student Rebecca F. Yacob. The incident happened at about 2:30 a.m. after McFarland spent the night drinking with friends. McFarland, who is 20, was put on probation for underage drinking 19 days prior to the accident.

McFarland has served eight months of his time and with good behavior he can be released in about 28 months. He was forced to pay a fine of $600 and will also have to pay an additional undetermined amount of restitution.

The Pioneer Press reported that McFarland had four other alcohol-related convictions and another arrest before the fatal crash occurred. Three of the incidents were motor vehicle-related.

“I’m just hoping this sentence will set an example for others,? said Yacob’s cousin, Russom Solomon. “He was on probation when he did this. Accidents happen, people make mistakes, but when you’re constantly doing something wrong in a tragic way, you’re bound to do something major.? (Pioneer Press)

Yacob was on the University of Minnesota’s dean’s list and was preparing to study a semester in Rome. She was 21 years old and moved to Apple Valley 10 years ago from Ethiopia.

McFarland also received an unrelated charge of fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct. In 2006, he was convicted of having sexual intercourse with a 15-year-old girl.