December 2, 2007

AIDS numbers in the United States higher than previously thought

The number of new HIV cases each year in the United States has been estimated at 50 percent higher than previously thought, according to the Washington Post.

New testing and counting methods have led the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to estimate the number of new cases of AIDS at between 55,000 and 60,000 each year, up from the 40,000 a year estimate that has been in place for almost a decade.

The CDC has not released the estimate yet but sources close to the scientists involved have confirmed it.

The Washington Post reported that it is unclear if the new estimate indicates that the AIDS epidemic is growing in the United States or if it was just bigger than was thought.

The new estimate could affect decisions on how much money is spent on prevention efforts, according to the New York Times.

Several states are using two testing methods, one that can detect HIV in its very early stages and another that can only detect it after the infection has been present for a while. If a patient tests positive for the first method and negative for the second it may indicate that they have been infected recently.

The agency asked scientists to be patient while the numbers are being reviewed.

Two men shot dead in South Minneapolis

Two men were shot and killed Saturday in South Minneapolis after an argument in apartment building, according to the Pioneer Press.

Police said the killings did not appear to be random and are still investigating. There have been no arrests made.

Police found one man's body in the hallway of the apartment building, and the other man's body in a nearby alley, according to the Star Tribune.

A police spokesman said that the neighbors are not in danger of a gunman in the area.

Refinery worker dies in tank fire

A refinery worker was found dead Sunday after a fire broke out Saturday morning at the Marathon Petroleum refinery in St. Paul Park, according to the Pioneer Press.

After co-workers realized Nicholas Gunter, 29, was missing a 115-acre search involving up to 70 people and a police helicopter began.

Gunter was found in a blending tank at 1:40 p.m. on Sunday.

The cause of his death and the cause of the fire are being investigated, according to the Star Tribune.

November 18, 2007

Man dies after being tasered

A 20-year-old Maryland man died after a police officer used a Taser on him, according to an Associated Press article on

The police officer has been suspended with pay for an investigation.

CNN is reporting that, according to Amnesty International, more than 150 people have died in the United States after stun guns were used on them. Coroners have linked 30 of the deaths to the stun guns.

Taser International, the company that makes the Tasers claims that the media has unfairly represented these deaths because there are many other factors that the deaths can be attributed to, according to CNN.

Oil spill clean up in San Francisco

The oil spill in the San Francisco bay was still on its way to being cleaned up Sunday, but tides that will peak after thanksgiving could spread the oil to areas that were previously unaffected, according to the Washington Post.

Crews had cleaned up 16,000 gallons of the 58,000 that had spilled, 4,000 had evaporated. A criminal investigation looking at the actions of the pilot and crew is underway after the taker hit the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

Nearly 1,400 birds have already died from the spill. Tar balls, thick sticky balls of oil could reach other beaches as far as 40 miles away depending on winds and tides in the next few days.

Hitting the bridge created a 90-foot gash in the boat, but the damage was not apparent as little was felt on board, according to National Public Radio.

The original report to authorities was that the boat "touched" the bridge. The ship's pilot did not immediately recognize the severity of the damage. He and the rest of the crew, are being investigated by federal authorities, according to NPR.

63 die in coal mine explosion

A methane explosion in Ukraine killed 63 miners leaving 37 still trapped in the mine after rescuers saved more than 360 miners, according to the New York Times.

The explosion, the deadliest accident in Ukraine since 2000, occurred in the heart of the country's coal mining industry in the regional capital Donetsk. The mine was particularly dangerous because of it's extreme depth at more than 3,000 feet because methane concentrations increase with depth.

President Viktor Yushchenko's office has issued a statement saying that Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych's government is to blame for ignoring the mining sector and it's safety violations, according to the Washington Post. Yanukovych has declared a three-day mourning period for the victims.

Since 1991, when communism took over Ukraine, 4,700 miners have died in accidents.

November 17, 2007

Electronics recycling drive ends early due to huge turn-out

The three-day electronics recycling drive collected in one day, the amount of waste expected in three days, causing it to end early, according to Minnesota Public Radio.

The event ended early for safety reasons. There was no traffic control and thousands of cars lined up around the Mall of America, stretching back to the exit ramps on I-494. Some waited for over two hours to dispose of their old TVs and computer monitors.

They collected 1.5 million pounds of electronic waste in one day. They had expected to collect 1.2 to 1.5 million pounds over the three day drive.

WCCO reported that people had come from as far as Rochester and Owatonna to get rid of their electronics.

Though it had to be shut down early the company that organized the event saw it as an encouraging success.

There are places that you can recycle your electronics year-round. JR's Recycling in Inver Grove Heights is one place people went instead of the mall. They experience overwhelming over-flow from Friday's recycling drive.

It is illegal in Minnesota to dump electronics like TVs and computer monitors because they can contain large amounts of lead.

State money to help with foreclosures

The State will be giving over $1 million to fund counselors to help families with mortgage problems, according to the Star Tribune.

This will increase the number of counselors from 18 to 37, according to the Pioneer Press.

The Star Tribune reported that about 80,000 people are predicted to be behind on their mortgages by the end of this year. That's almost twice as much as last year.

The funding could save as many as 5,700 households from foreclosure. 20,000 are expected to lose their homes this year.

The state has also approved more money to fund the investigation of possible fraud and unfair lending practices.

November 11, 2007

6 U.S. troops killed in Afganistan

An insurgent attack killed six U.S. troops and three Afghan soldiers in the deadliest attack in Afghanistan since February, according to the New York Times.

The attack, that also left 11 U.S. troops and eight Afghan soldiers injured, was a complex attack involving machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.

The troops were walking back from a meeting with village elders in Arnis, a village in the Waygal District, when the attack occurred.

This attack brings the total U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan to 101 from an Associated Press count, according to the Washington Post.

So far this year in there have been a record 130 suicide attacks in Afghanistan, and a suicide bombing killing 75, the deadliest attack since 2001.

Lesibian not elected as Bishop for Episcopal church

Openly gay candidate, th Rev. Tracy Lind, finished fourth on a ballot of eight candidates for the new Bishop of the Chicago Diocese of the U.S. Episcopal Church, according to Reuters.

If she were elected, Lind, 53, would have been the second gay Bishop in the U.S. branch of th worldwide Anglican Communion.

Gene Robinson, the first gay Bishop was consecrated in 2003 and some diocese may be switching their allegiance in order to protest the churches support for Robinson.

The Rev. William D. Persell, the former Bishop of th Chicago Diocese said that the election should not be seen as a vote against a gay person. "We are committed to full inclusion," he said, according to the New York Times.

A parishioner said that while the Chicago Diocese has mostly overcome the issue of sexual orientation, Lind's election would've created some turbulence.

Man in jail dies after not recieving proper treatment

A man, arrested on suspicion of driving a motorized bicycle drunk, dies in jail from untreated diabetes, according to Minnesota Public Radio.

Randy Gallmeyer was taken to Ramsey County Jail Friday, Oct. 19 and died the following Sunday at Regions Hospital after he was found on his the floor of his cell early Sunday. Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher said that Gallmeyer refused blood sugar testing twice on Saturday but should have been offered testing at 3:30 p.m. and again around 8 p.m., but he was not, according to MPR.

Gallmeyer's family have filed a wrongful death suit.

The nurse who failed to check Gallmeyer's blood pressure could face criminal charges, according to the Star Tribune.

The nurse resigned and is under investigation for criminal negligence.

Rape suspect arrested

St. Paul police arrested a 19-year-old man Saturday in connection with last week's rape of a 17-year-old girl last, according to the Star Tribune.

The man was booked into the Ramsey County jail on suspicion of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and an outstanding probation-violation warrant.

The man is suspected of forcing his way into the girls home on St. Paul's East Side.

The girl was treated and released from Regions Hospital in St. Paul. DNA from last weeks rape is being analyzed to see if there is a connection between this rape and a stranger rape in January that has yet to be solved, according to the Pioneer Press.

November 4, 2007

Woman trained for marathon rigourously while pregnant

A 33-year-old woman from Britain trained at intense levels during her pregnancy that runners who are not pregnant would see as daunting, according to the New York Times.

Paula Radcliffe was running right up until the day before she gave birth to her healthy baby in January, and was running only 12 days later. She arrived in New York on Thursday to compete in the New York City Marathon on Sunday.

"As far as I know, no one has ever done what she's done," James Pivarnik, director of the Human Energy Research Laboratory at Michigan State University, said.

There is little research on the effects of pregnancy on athletes performances because many are unwilling to participate in studies because of possible danger to babies, according to the New York Times.

Radcliffe won her second New York City Marathon Sunday, according to BBC.

Radcliffe holds the world record at 2 hrs 23 mins 9 secs.

One million pounds of beef recalled

Cargill announced Saturday that it's recalling 1 million pounds of beef because E.coli was found in a tested sample, according to the Washington Post.

The beef was produced from Oct. 8 to Oct. 11 and involves Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

No illnesses have been related to the meat that has been recalled.

Giant, Stop Rite, Stop & Shop, Wegmans and Weis are retailers that sold the meat, according to Reuters.

Symptoms of the particular strain of E. coli associated with this recall are potentially severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and dehydration.

Cargill recalled beef earlier in October when four Minnesota children and four Wisconsin adults developed illness from eating contaminated beef patties, according to the Washington Post.

Deer hunter dies after being shot in the Chest

A man died Saturday after being shot in the chest while dear hunting just south of Elbow Lake, according to WCCO.

The man, 60, whose names is not being released, was taken to Lake Region Hospital where he died.

It was opening day for the deer hunting season and the man was posting, waiting for deer to show up, with a group of other hunters.

The Grant County Sheriff's Office and the Department of Natural Resources are investigating the incident, according to the Star Tribune.