April 27, 2007

Iran and EU closer to agreeing on nuclear issues

By Jennie Wander

Iran and Europe are now closer to a similar viewpoint on nuclear issues after talks Thursday, Iran's top nuclear negotiator said.

A top Europe official discussed how to change Tehran's defiance of the United Nations Security Council's freeze of uranium enrichment, CNN said.

Tony Blair also had a meeting with prime minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski and president Lech Kaczynski and discussed immigration, energy, and other "bread-and-butter" issues, BBC said. The three shared similar thoughts, BBC said.

Blair is expected to attend a key EU summit in June, which is one of his last events before he leaves office, BBC said.


Pentagon captures al-Qaida operative

By Jennie Wander

The Pentagon said one of al-Qaida's senior operatives was captured Friday and put into custody.

Captive Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi was trying to return to his home country when caught, Star Tribune said. A spokesman for the Pentagon would not say where al-Iraqi was captured, Kare 11 said.

Al-Iraqi is described as an associate to Osama bin Laden and at one time served in the Iraqi military, Kare 11 said. He is suspected of planning attacks from Pakistan to U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, Star Tribune said.


Liberians start rally to stay in America

By Jennie Wander

Minnesota Liberians rallied in front of the State Capitol Tuesday for their right to stay in the United States, Kare 11 said.

Liberian war refugees are forced to return to their homeland in October, Kare 11 said. A bill introduced by Rep. Keith Ellison Thursday, however, could allow Liberians to apply for permanent residency, Star Tribune said.

Approximately 1,000 Liberians live in Minnesota, which is higher than any other state, Star Tribune said.


Threats and fight broke out during boy's funeral

By Jennie Wander

A funeral service Friday for a St. Paul shooting victim, Earl Freeman, 16, was rescheduled due to a fight before a church service, Pioneer Press said.

St. Paul police broke up a fight behind Spielman Mortuary where mourners had gathered for a visitation, Pioneer Press said. The family rescheduled the church service after concerns of more violence, Star Tribune said.

No injuries or arrests were a result of today's fight, Star Tribune said. The family decided to relocate the funeral services to Chicago, Pioneer Press said.


Drunk woman hits St. Paul mayor's car

By Jennie Wander

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman was a victim to drunk driving Thursday when his car was rear-ended by a alleged legally drunk woman, Kare 11 said.

The mayor's Ford Crown Victoria was stopped at a red light on Summit Avenue when Abbie Raymond, 22, rear-ended him with a Honda sedan. Her blood-alcohol content was registered at 0.26 percent, which is three-times the legal limit, Pioneer Press said.

Raymond was booked into Ramsey County jail. Both vehicles had minor damages, Kare 11 said.


April 26, 2007

Tornadoes kill 10 on Tex-Mex border

By Jennie Wander

At least 10 victims of tornadoes are killed Tuesday night on the Texas and Mexico border with another dead in Louisiana, Star Tribune said.

A community just south of Eagle Pass was hit by tornadoes that demolished two elementary schools, a church, a business, and hundreds of homes, Star Tribune said. The storm stretched along a 4-square-mile radius, Pioneer Press said.

All five people inside one home died, Pioneer Press said. The five victims were related, Star Tribune said.
Eighty-one people were injured, Pioneer Press said.


Abe and Bush hold meeting in mountain retreat

By Jennie Wander

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Bush held a meeting Friday in Washington about North Korea's nuclear weapons program, CNN said.

In February Abe decided to ween out the use of nuclear weapons, however the shut down of the North's nuclear reactor has not happened yet, CNN said.

Abe has faced some criticism in the United States and his approval ratings have droped, Pioneer Press said. However, this meeting is held during one of the best times between Tokyo and Washington in years, Pioneer Press said.


Attornery General suing Iowa company

By Jennie Wander

A dispute broke out between Minnesota's largest public employees union and the attorney general over the firing of one its lawyers, Star Tribune said.

Assistant Attorney General, Kari Ferguson, was fired last week for handing out union solicitation cards after several staff departures, Star Tribune said.

Swanson accused American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Thursday of possibly planting "unfavorable positions" on the Internet, but they deny the accusation, Star Tribune said.


St. Paul getting tough with dog owners

By Jennie Wander

Bad dog owners will be forced to shape up after an ordinance was passed in St. Paul Wednesday that will crack down on owners.

After several attacks in the Twin Cities recently, St. Paul City Council passed a measure that will no longer allow owners the right to have a dog if one has been taken away for neglect or abuse more than once in five years, Kare 11 said.

One council member wants to take the ordinance further by prohibiting entire breeds, but other members consider that unnecessary, Pioneer Press said. They said it is the owners responsibility versus the breed of dog, Pioneer Press said.


Judge gives the ok for suit against immigration raids

By Jennie Wander

A federal judge allowed a lawsuit Thursday challenging April's raid on illegal immigrants in Willmar, Minn. to go through after rejecting a request by immigrant advocates, Star Tribune said.

U.S. District Court Judge Ann Montgomery allowed the immigration advocates to continue their lawsuit against the Immigration and Customs Enforcement. However, Montgomery denied a request by the advocates for a temporary restraining order against immigration agents, Star Tribune said.

Several people rallied in downtown Minneapolis Wednesday night before the hearing, Kare 11 said.


Blackout hit Columbia

By Jennie Wander

Columbia was hit with a nationwide blackout Thursday after a technical glitch at a substation in Bogota, CNN said.

The blackout left people in elevators, halted stock trading, and caused havoc on roads, BBC said. More than 80 percent of Columbia was affected by the blackout, BBC said.

Power was returned for 20 percent of the country within an hour with hopes for the rest of the country within the next few hours, CNN said.

The cause of the blackout is unknown, but an attack has been ruled out, BBC said.


Iraq withdrawal date passes House

By Jennie Wander

The House approved a $124 billion war spending limit Wednesday requiring troop withdrawal from Iraq to begin Oct. 1, Pioneer Press said.

The House vote was 218-208, Pioneer Press said. The deadline also has a goal of ending U.S. combat operations by March 2008, Pioneer Press said.

Senate was not able to overthrow the president's threatened veto in a vote Thursday, which was 51-46, Kare 11 said. This is the first challenge Democrats have thrown at Bush since they took over both houses in January, Kare 11 said.


Glitches cause problem for new online math test

By Jennie Wander

A new online statewide math test was shut down after one-fourth of the school districts were not able to use it, Star Tribune said.

The math test is intended for students learning English as a second language, Star Tribune said. The test was supposed to be taken by 26,000 students statewide, Star Tribune said.

This online test is the beginning of the state starting to use testing online versus paper, however, the glitches are becoming a cause for concern, Pioneer Press said.

Pearson Educational Measurement, a testing company, sent out a repair for the problem, Star Tribune said.


Car crash in Orono injures three

By Jennie Wander

Highway 12 was closed after three people were injured Thursday in a three-vehicle crash just outside of Orono, Kare 11 said.

None of the injuries were life threatening, Star Tribune said.

An eastbound car crossed over the center line striking an oncoming vehicle around 9 a.m., Kare 11 said. The oncoming car then struck another vehicle, Kare 11 said.

All three victims were taken to North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale, Star Tribune said. Highway 12 was reopened at 10:30 a.m., Star Tribune said.


Statewide smoking ban coming into effect

By Jennie Wander

The Minnesota House voted Thursday to outlaw smoking in bars and restaurants in 2009 making a statewide smoking ban a bigger possibility.

However, local officials could authorize bars and restaurants who get most of their revenue from liquor to allow a ventilated smoking room. Customers do not have to order food and drinks to use the room, Kare 11 said.

The smoking rooms would receive no service since employees were not allowed in them during business hours, Star Tribune said.

The "Freedom to Breathe" bill was approved 85-45, Kare 11 said. The recent approved Senate bill passed does not include this exception, Star Tribune said.