December 6, 2007

Bush's first direct communication with North Korea

SEOUL, South Korea, Dec. 6 — President Bush sent a letter to Kim Jong-il, the North Korean leader, the North’s official news agency and South Korean officials said today. It was Bush’s first direct communication with the North Korean dictator.

Christopher R. Hill, the top envoy to six-nation talks on ending North Korea’s nuclear programs, delivered the letter through the North Korean foreign minister, Pak Ui-chun, during his three-day trip to Pyongyang earlier this week, the Korean Central News Agency said. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/07/world/asia/07korea.html?_r=1&ref=world&oref=slogin

A White House spokesman, Gordon D. Johndroe, responded to questions about the contents of the letter this morning by saying: “President Bush wrote letters to all the leaders involved in the six-party talks last Saturday, Dec. 1. In these letters, the President reiterated our commitment to the six-party talks and stressed the need for North Korea to come forward with a full and complete declaration of their nuclear programs, as called for in the September 2005 six-party agreement.? http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/07/world/asia/07korea.html?_r=1&ref=world&oref=slogin


Mr. Kim and President Bill Clinton exchanged letters, but this was the first time Mr. Kim received one from Mr. Bush, who has classified North Korea as an "axis of evil" country.


Washington is trying to persuade North Korea to disable their main nuclear complex and to declare their nuclear activities by the end of the year, but the negotiations on the revealing of nuclear programs were stalling by the North Koreans.

According to foxnews.com, North Korea conducted their first nuclear test explosion in October 2006, prompting international condemnation and sanctions. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,315473,00.html

In return to the revealing of nuclear programs agreement, the United States will “begin the process of removing? North Korea from a United States terrorism list “in parallel? with the North’s actions.


Bombing in Paris

PARIS - A parcel bomb in central Paris, exploded at a lawyer’s office on Thursday, killing one person and seriously injuring another, officials said. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22128344/

“Someone came to the office and left a package. The secretary who opened it in fact opened a parcel bomb. The parcel bomb killed her,? said Christian Charriere-Bournazel, the incoming president of the Paris bar association.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22128344/

Charriere-Bournazel said the injured person was a lawyer and his secretary was the person killed.

Another official, Francoise de Panafieu, said the secretary who died opened the package in the presence of the lawyer, who was injured. Most of the other people injured had minor injuries and shock, she said. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22128344/

According to Startribune.com, officials stressed that the motive for the attack was unclear.

Mayor Bertrand Delanoe said the bombed lawyer’s office was on the same floor, fourth floor, as the Foundation for the Memory of the Shoah. They were created in 2000 with an endowment from recovered funds that were confiscated from French Jews during World War II. They support research and education about the Holocaust and Jewish culture. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22128344/

Police officers arrested 31 suspected Islamic militants today and offered a "substantial reward" for any information regarding the bombing attack.
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990CE7DE133CF933A2575AC0A963958260


Holiday shopping trip gone bad - Omaha

OMAHA, Neb. - Robert Hawkins had a rough couple of events happen: he had been kicked out of his family's house, fired from McDonald's and had broken up with his girlfriend, leaving him to write a suicide note Wednesday at his home. http://www.twincities.com/national/ci_7646027

It said he wouldn't be a burden on his family anymore and "now I'll be famous," according to Debora Maruca-Kovac, who owns the home. http://www.twincities.com/national/ci_7646027

Hawkins went to the Westroads Mall, armed with a rifle and black back pack and camouflage vest. Witnesses said Hawkins fired down at shoppers from the third-floor balcony of the Von Maur store.

Police responded to a call of shots fired within six minutes, but they said by then it was all over. http://www.twincities.com/national/ci_7646027

The gunman was found dead on the third floor with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, and his victims were discovered on the second and third floors of the Mall, police Sgt. Teresa Negron said. http://www.twincities.com/national/ci_7646027

Eight people, not including Hawkins, were killed, five wounded, and two critically injured.

When gunshots rang out in the mall, it took a moment for many to realize what was going on. Shawn Vidlak thought it sounded like a nail gun on a construction job. http://www.twincities.com/national/ci_7646027

"My knees rocked. I didn't know what to do, so I just ran with everybody else," said Kevin Kleine, 29, who was shopping with her 4-year-old daughter who hid in a dressing room with other shoppers and employees.http://www.twincities.com/national/ci_7646027


Hawkins lived with a friend's family in a house in a middle-class Bellevue neighborhood for a little over a year after his family kicked him out, Maruca-Kovac said.http://www.twincities.com/national/ci_7646027

"When he first came in the house, he was introverted, a troubled young man who was like a lost pound puppy that nobody wanted," Maruca-Kovac said.
http://www.twincities.com/national/ci_7646027

"I had a feeling it could be him," said Maruca-Kovac, who had read the note before turning it over to his mother.
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/12/05/national/main3579871.shtml?source=RSSattr=HOME_3579871

Holiday feast for North Korea

South Korean will be sending 50,000 tons of corn to North Korea in hopes to help fight food shortages, an official said Thursday.
http://www.startribune.com/world/12198386.html

The 18 billion corn aid will be shipped to the malnurished country at the beginning of this month, officials said.
http://www.startribune.com/world/12198386.html

"I hope President Roh Mu-hyun will help our people with food aid," said an 18-year-old girl from Kaechon. "But I also hope he will send people to make sure that poor North Koreans receive the aid. Otherwise, no matter how much he sends, it won't make much difference to ordinary people." http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/09/27/news/edseouk.php

South Korea delivered 400,000 tons of rice aid to the North on Wednesday and has sent 2.6 million tons of rice to feed 23 million people since the 19990s. http://www.startribune.com/world/12198386.html

However, North Korean defectors in South Korea are urging Seoul government to stop delivery the rice aid to the North, because the food is being diverted to the military instead of the intended beneficiaries.

According to Startribne.com, Former North Korean military officer Park Myung Ho said over 90 percent of South Korean rice aid goes to the military. http://www.startribune.com/world/12198386.html
"In the end, the South Korean humanitarian rice aid is being used to get (North Korean) military forces to be ready for war," said Sohn Jung Hoon, secretary of a North Korean defectors' group.http://www.startribune.com/world/12198386.html

The two Koreas remain technically at war, since the 1950-53 Korean War ended with a cease-fire that has never been replaced by a peace treaty, and showing continuing efforts that one will not be placed anytime soon. http://www.startribune.com/world/12198386.html

Holiday feast for North Korea

South Korean will be sending 50,000 tons of corn to North Korea in hopes to help fight food shortages, an official said Thursday.
http://www.startribune.com/world/12198386.html

The 18 billion corn aid will be shipped to the malnurished country at the beginning of this month, officials said.
http://www.startribune.com/world/12198386.html

South Korea delivered 400,000 tons of rice aid to the North on Wednesday and has sent 2.6 million tons of rice to feed 23 million people since the 19990s. http://www.startribune.com/world/12198386.html

However, North Korean defectors in South Korea are urging Seoul government to stop delivery the rice aid to the North, because the food is being diverted to the military instead of the intended beneficiaries.

According to Startribne.com, Former North Korean military officer Park Myung Ho said over 90 percent of South Korean rice aid goes to the military. http://www.startribune.com/world/12198386.html
"In the end, the South Korean humanitarian rice aid is being used to get (North Korean) military forces to be ready for war," said Sohn Jung Hoon, secretary of a North Korean defectors' group.http://www.startribune.com/world/12198386.html

The two Koreas remain technically at war, since the 1950-53 Korean War ended with a cease-fire that has never been replaced by a peace treaty, and showing continuing efforts that one will not be placed anytime soon. http://www.startribune.com/world/12198386.html

December 2, 2007

Analysis Blog on Records

http://www.wlox.com/Global/story.asp?S=7344565&nav=menu40_3_1

In this paragraph: Hidden in Mississippi's real estate law book is language about illegal drug activity that affects the "physical or environmental condition of the property." But not even on the disclosure form that sellers and buyers use, does the law say meth or any other drug activity 'must' be disclosed.

I found the reporting interesting. They really dug deep to find out what the Mississippi real estate law book says about meth and housing. It's interesting that they don't have to say if there was meth in the house before. The reporter found a lot of information to make this story possible and researchable.

The reporter did a lot of good outside reporting by visiting the houses and talking to people about their houses and the history of their house and whether they knew or not if it there was a meth lab used in their house.

The reporter needed to know how to find the research and know where to find this information. I think he did a good job with his research and analyzing all of his information to make a good story.

November 29, 2007

Secret Documents published by Vatican City

ROME — The Vatican published secret archive documents about the trial of the Knights Templar, which included a long-lost parchment that shows that Pope Clement V initially absolved the medieval Christian order from accusations of heresy, officials said Friday. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,301509,00.html?sPage=fnc.world/europe

There are only 799 copies of the 300-page volume which was priced at $8,377 said Scrinium publishing house, which prints documents from the Vatican's secret archives. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,301509,00.html?sPage=fnc.world/europe

"The Da Vinci Code," which used the order of knights to captivate the imagination of its readers, reproduces the entire documentation on the papal hearings convened after King Philip IV of France arrested and tortured Templar leaders in 1307 under charges of heresy and immorality.The Da Vinci Code linked the Templars to the story of the Holy Grail. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,301509,00.html?sPage=fnc.world/europe

The military order of the Poor Knights of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon was founded in 1118 in Jerusalem so as to protect pilgrims in the Holy Land following the First Crusade. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,301509,00.html?sPage=fnc.world/europe

The Vatican documents reproduce the entire documentation of the papal hearings convened after King Philip IV of France arrested and tortured Templar leaders in 1307 on charges of heresy and immorality. http://www.boston.com/news/world/articles/2007/10/13/vatican_to_tell_true_knights_tale/


The publishing house said the new book includes the "Parchment of Chinon," a 1308 decision by Clement to save the Templars and their order. The document was misplaced for many centuries in the archives but found again in 2001 by a researcher who works in the Vatican archives. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,301509,00.html?sPage=fnc.world/europe


Happy Birthday Pope

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI turned 80 on Monday, April 16, celebrating by lunching with cardinals and http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,266311,00.html?sPage=fnc.world/europeattending a concert. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,266311,00.html?sPage=fnc.world/europe

Benedict spent his birthday morning meeting with well-wishers from his native Germany, including the governors of Bavaria and Schleswig-Holstein, and a representative of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,266311,00.html?sPage=fnc.world/europe

Benedict received some fun presents, including 80 bottles of Bavarian beer from the archdiocese of Munich, a birthday cake from Rome, and a giant stuffed teddy bear that was donated to a local children's hospital.

"The pope said explicitly that he would prefer not to accept personal gifts, but that anyone who wanted to give him a gift could make a donation that he could then use, for example for the Holy Land, or for other areas of crisis in the world or for Africa," the pontiff's secretary, Monsignor Georg Ganswein, told Vatican Radio. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,266311,00.html?sPage=fnc.world/europe

Benedict celebrated Mass on the steps of St. Peter's Basilica and noted the "not brief period of my existence" in his homily.

To celebrate the big day, the Vatican philatelic office has issued a new set of 3 stamps to mark his 80th birthday.
http://www.cwnews.com/news/viewstory.cfm?recnum=50259

British teacher lets students name teddy bear "Muhammad"

KHARTOUM, Sudan - A British teacher went on trial today on charges of inciting religious hatred by letting her students name a teddy bear Muhammad at Khartoum's Unity High School yesterday, a crime that is punishable for up to 40 lashes and six months in jail. http://www.startribune.com/722/story/1580323.html
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,312895,00.html

Naming an animal Muhammad is insulting by many Muslims, regardless the commonality of the name used among Muslim men.

In a statement read to the court, Gibbons said her students picked out the teddy bear's name, British Embassy spokesman Omar Daair told The Associated Press. http://www.startribune.com/722/story/1580323.html

The case posed a diplomatic dispute with Sudan's former colonial ruler, Britain.

Prosecutor-General Salah Eddin Abu Zaid told the Associated Press that the British teacher could expect a "swift and fair trial." If convicted, she would face up to 40 lashes, six months in jail and a fine, with the verdict and any sentence up to the judge's discretion, official have said. http://www.startribune.com/722/story/1580323.html

The judge ordered the prosecution to bring forward the person who originally raised the complaint against Gibbons, whom was an office assistant at the Unity High School, said Isam Abu Hasabu, the head of the school's parent-teacher association, who was in the courtroom. http://www.startribune.com/722/story/1580323.html

Djizouri, Gibbon's lawyer, said he would argue her case based on Islamic Sharia law and show there was "absolutely no intention to insult religion, and for blasphemy to take place there must be an insult."http://www.startribune.com/722/story/1580323.html


Gibbons asked the students to pick names for the teddy bear and they proposed Abdullah, Hassan and Muhammad. In September, the pupils voted for the name Muhammad. http://www.startribune.com/722/story/1580323.html

Episcopalian Bishop Ezekiel Kondo, Gibbons' employer, was expected to testify for the defense.http://www.startribune.com/722/story/1580323.html
He said people are trying to make it a bigger deal then what it really is. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,312895,00.html

The charges against Gibbons arrest on Sunday have angered the British government, both British and American Muslim groups have criticized this decision. http://www.startribune.com/722/story/1580323.html

In London, Foreign Secretary David Miliband said British diplomats "will do everything to avoid" any of the possible sentences that could be imposed on the teacher. http://www.startribune.com/722/story/1580323.html

"There is an innocent misunderstanding at the heart of this, not a criminal offense," Miliband said. http://www.startribune.com/722/story/1580323.html

A spokesman at the Sudanese Embassy in London said he did not think Gibbons would be convicted.

Lightning on Venus?

Astronomers have suspected lightning on Venus for nearly three decades, and now have found proof of its reality.

A magnetic antenna on the European SPace Agency's Venus Express prob that has been orbiting for 20 months has proven the lightning to be real.

"In addition to all the pressure and heat, we can confirm there is lightning on Venus, maybe even more activity than there is here on Earth," said Christopher Russell, a NASA-sponsored scientist on Venus Express from the University of California, Los Angeles, and lead author of one of the Nature papers. "Not a very good place to vacation, that is for sure." http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071128155513.htm

The idea is fascinating, said University of California, Los Angeles geophysics Prof. C.T. Russell, lead author of a paper in today's journal Nature. http://www.startribune.com/722/story/1579680.html

"It's significant because lightning affects atmospheric chemistry, so scientists will have to take it into account. There's also the 'wow' factor. Venus' weather forecasts thought to be "boring ... steady winds for the next 400 years,"until now said senior scientist Allan Treiman of the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston. http://www.startribune.com/722/story/1579680.html

According to Space Today, the lightning found on Venus may be related to volcanic activity on the surface. http://www.spacetoday.org/SolSys/Venus/VenusLightning.html

The probe has also shown Venus and Earth to be quite similar in many ways: size, mass and carbon dioxide amounts. Said Russell, "It may be Earth's 'evil twin,' but it is in many respects Earth's twin." http://www.startribune.com/722/story/1579680.html

Venus, 30 percent closer to the sun, is 900 degrees hotter than Earth's surface and lost nearly all its water. http://www.startribune.com/722/story/1579680.html

The confirming measurements of the lightning from the electrical discharges were made with data obtained by the Venus Express magnetometer instrument which was provided by the Space Research Institute in Graz, Austria.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071128155513.htm

November 27, 2007

Alcohol poisoning death may lead to charges of suppliers

Amanda Jax died on her 21st birthday from alcohol-poisoning after celebrating her freedom to drink.

According to the Blue Earth County attorney, charges are being filed on people who were with her or businesses that served her through out the night.

The decision on charging someone is at least two weeks aways, County Attorney Ross Arneson said.

Arneson said that those subject to being charged "could be people who accompanied" Jax in the hours before she died late last month or "people commercially serving her." http://www.startribune.com/crime/story/1575948.html

The office Arneson works in has been meeting with representatives of Jax's family to listen to their views about issuing such charges, Arneson said. However he emphasized that, "it's not up to them" to make final decisions.

At the time of her death, Jax's blood alcohol level was at .46 percent, which is more than five times the legal driving limit. http://www.startribune.com/crime/story/1575948.html

According to the Mankato Free Press reports, Jax spent the last night of her life drinking heavily at the Sidelines Bar & Grill downtown Mankato, whom served her alcohol when she was clearly intoxicated, which is a gross misdemeanor.


Jax was a pre-nursing student at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Police said that Jax was taken to a friend's nearby home after the night out drinking. When they found her unresponsive they called 911.

MSUJ president Richard Davenport testified at the public hearing, saying that Mankato "has a reputation for binge drinking." Administrators plan to explore fining students for off-campus alcohol violations, Davenport said. http://www.startribune.com/crime/story/1575948.html

November 20, 2007

AIDS infections cut back

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - The long overestimated size and course of the AIDS epedimic will be acknolwedged by the United Nations' top AIDS scientists this week. They believe the epeidemic has been slowling for nearly a decade, according to U.N. documents that were prepared for their announcement.

The annual new HIV infections are at 2.5 million, released today, which is a cut of more than 40 percent from last year's estimate, shown by documents. This year the worldwide total infected with HIV is 33 million, down from 40 million last year.http://www.startribune.com/722/story/1562266.html

Last year, according to UNAIDS, 78,000 people acquired HIV in North America, Western and Central Europe. It has been a stable number since 2002. http://data.unaids.org/pub/EPISlides/2007/071118_epi_regional%20factsheet_en.pdf

Belgian scientist Peter Piot has been leading The United Nations' AIDS agency, known as UNAIDS since its founding in 1995. He has been a major advocate for increasing spending to combat the epidemic which has reached as much as $10 billion a year over the past decade. http://www.startribune.com/722/story/1562266.html

"There was a tendency toward alarmism, and that fit perhaps a certain fundraising agenda," said Helen Epstein, author of "The Invisible Cure: Africa, the West, and the Fight Against AIDS." http://www.startribune.com/722/story/1562266.html

November 19, 2007

German Police Stop School Massacre

German police took an 18-year-old under arrest for suspect in school massacre plot. His alleged accomplice, suspect, aged 17, committed suicide after his questioning. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7101689.stm

A school in the western city of Cologne is believed to have been the target of the massacre. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7101689.stm

Suspects were spotted by classmates when they were studying pictures of the Columbine school massacre in the US in 1999. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7101689.stm


The two teenagers had planned to attack Cologne's Georg-Buechner high school on Tuesday, police said.http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7101689.stm

According to a police spokeswoman, Investigators believe the two planned to use pipe bombs, which they skilled how to make in advance.
http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/police-thwart-school-massacre-plot/2007/11/19/1195321648192.html

"They wanted to hurt and kill people, and then take their own lives," Norbert Wagner, the chief investigator in the Cologne case, told reporters.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7101689.stm


The 17-year-old was questioned on Friday. He was then allowed to go home, but on his way home threw himself under tram and died from injuries, police said. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7101689.stm


Mr. Wagner said the second suspect confessed to the plot.

The names of the two suspects have not been released. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7101689.stm

Just five years ago in April 2002, 19-year-old Robert Steinhauser shot dead 16 people before killing himself at a school in Erfurt, eastern Germany. http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/police-thwart-school-massacre-plot/2007/11/19/1195321648192.html

China gets a lot of Snow

BEIJING—Snowstorms across northeast China forced to close three airports on Monday, leaving 1,000 travelers stranded for hours.

According to the Associated Press, Shenyang and Taiping airports were shut for about four hours, the official Xinhua News Agency said. Changchun's airport, located between the two other cities, closed for a shorter period, Xinhua said. http://www.twincities.com/national/ci_7505189?nclick_check=1

Several highways were also closed around Shenyang, about 370 miles northeast of Beijing, due to a visibility of 985 feet during the storm. http://www.twincities.com/national/ci_7505189?nclick_check=1

This week, an area known as Manchuria, is expected to reach temperatures as low as 1 degree about zero, Xinhua said. http://www.twincities.com/national/ci_7505189?nclick_check=1


Last Updated: Friday, 6 January 2006, 11:54 GMT
E-mail this to a friend Printable version
Thousands trapped in China snow
Chinese soldiers clear snow to rescue a truck stranded at Altay, northwest China's Xinjiang province
Transportation is a problem in snow-covered Xinjiang
Almost 250,000 people in north-western China have been trapped by heavy snowfall, as the country faces its worst winter in 20 years.

Temperatures have plummeted to -43C, and snow is blanketing large parts of Xinjiang province.

Almost 100,000 people have been evacuated after their homes collapsed under heavy snow.

More than 5,000 people are being treated for frostbite, four of whom had to have limbs amputated.

But forecasters are warning this is just the beginning of a cold freeze, and that China needs to brace itself for the chilliest winter in 20 years.

According to the BBC correspondent in Beijing, Louisa Lim, this wraps up a year of extreme weather conditions following the hottest summer in more than 50 years.

Government appeal

About 60cm (two feet) of snow is covering parts of Xinjiang, according to Wang Zhenyao, a disaster relief official with the civil affairs ministry.

"The most urgent issue right now is to ensure traffic and transportation," Mr Wang told a briefing in Beijing on Friday.

Snow has reportedly blanketed the eastern province of Shandong too, cutting off roads and grounding aircraft.

China's government is appealing to private companies and millionaires to give more money to those in need across the country, saying 18 million people affected by natural disasters are still waiting for aid.

There has also been heavy snow in Japan in the past few weeks - killing dozens of people and paralysing the transport system.

Most of the casualties have been elderly people who tried to clear snow from the roofs of their houses.

According to Reuters news agency, a 93-year-old woman and her daughter were crushed to death in Ishikawa on Thursday, when their house collapsed under the weight of the snow. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4586558.stm

This was the worst snow storm in twenty years according to reports by BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4586558.stm

Japan whalers hunting humpback whales

Japan's biggest-ever scientific whale hunt in the South Pacific was set to leave port today, with orders to kill up to 50 humpack whales.

The expedition will also hunt 935 Antartic minke whales, 50 fin whales along with the humpback.

Greenpeace and the animal rights activist group Sea Shepherd said they will be tracking the South Pacific hunt. http://www.startribune.com/722/story/1557909.html

"These whales don't have to die," said a Greenpeace spokesman, Junichi Sato. "Humpbacks are very sensitive and live in close-knit pods. So even one death can be extremely damaging." http://www.startribune.com/722/story/1557909.html

Accroding to Common Dreams, Newscenter.org, two Greenpeace ships Esperanza and Arctic Sunrise launched inflatable boats on Wednesday to harass Japanese "catcher boats," by positioning them between the whale and harpoon gun. http://www.commondreams.org/headlines05/1222-02.htm

Prime Minister John Howard told reporters in Sydney, "I do not support action which endangers lives or breaks the law." http://www.commondreams.org/headlines05/1222-02.htm

Four decades ago, humpback whales were hunted to near-extinction and have been off-limits since 1963. The humpback whales are listed as "vulnerable" by the World Conservation Union. http://www.startribune.com/722/story/1557909.html

According to Japanese fisheries officials, the animals' population have returned to sustainable levels.

"Humpback whales in our research area are rapidly recovering," said the Fisheries Agency's whaling chief, Hideki Moronuki. http://www.startribune.com/722/story/1557909.html