December 8, 2007

Women in India allowed to be Bartenders

Thursday the Supreme Court in India has allowed women to work as bartenders in the country, the BBC reported.

People against women working in bars said it could be unsafe to have women bartenders serving drunk men.

Sandeep Verma of the Institute of Bar Operations said he had been working for three years to secure women the ability to become bartenders. Verma said, he trains many people including women to be bartenders.

"I'm really happy about this decision. Now many girls like me will be able to work in bars. Before we could not express our feelings because of the law, but now that has all changed," Deepali Dabas, a woman bartender, told the BBC.

There are already women working as hostesses and waitresses and this decision allows women to now serve alcohol as well.

The age of men who can serve alcohol has also been changed in this court ruling, lowering it from 25 to 21.

Although each state has different laws, this ruling applies for the whole country.

The Delhi government is worried about allowing women to bartend because of a previous high profile murder if a woman bartender in

The Delhi government had sought the ban of women in bartending in August this year, Yahoo News said.

They also cited the reason of men behaving badly under the influence of alcohol as the reason why the ban was needed.

Gay Couple can not get a Divorce in Rhode Island

A lesbian couple was married in Massachusetts and cannot get a divorce in their home state of Rhode Island, it was ruled Friday in the state's highest court, Boston WCVB reported.

The Rhode Island Supreme Court ruled that the family court can not grant a divorce because the state of Rhode Island does not define marriage as anything other than between a man and a woman.

This is the courts first case of dealing with a same-sex divorce.

Cassandra Ormiston and Margaret Chamers were married in Massachusetts in 2004 and filed for divorce last year, citing irreconcilable differences.

A divorce could be issued in Massachusetts if one of the two moved there for a year.

WCVB said, Nancy Palmisciano, Ormiston's lawyer, said couples married in other states and other countries are routinely granted divorces in Rhode Island, and that the same freedom should apply in this case.

Gov. Don Carcieri, who opposes same-sex marriage, said previously he favored the divorce, because the court did not need to rule if the marriage was valid, and it avoids the larger debate about same-sex unions.

But in a written statement Friday, he supported the courts decision.

Karen Loewry, a staff attorney for Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, said "You're essentially asking these women to move to access justice. The door of the courthouse has been barred for them."

Magna Carta worth $20 Million to $30 Million

One of 17 copies of the Magna Cart will go up for sale December 18 at Sotheby's, CNN reported.

This copy is signed by Kind Edward I in 1297 and is expected to fetch &20 million to $30 million when sold, Dave Redden, the Vice Chairman of Sotheby's said.

The Magna Carta was the document given to King John by English barons in 1215 that changed the relationship of the monarchy with the colonies.

The document is also a declaration of human rights that affects the human rights principles today.

The 1297 version of the Magna Carta became the operative version of the document, Redden said.

Today, its impact is felt by perhaps a third of the world's people, including all of North America, India, Pakistan, much of Africa, Australia and other areas that made up the British Commonwealth.he said in CNN online.

Only two copies exist of the Magna Carta outside of Britain and include the one that Sotheby's is selling and one in Australia.

One copy was lent to the United States by Britain in 1976 for the bicentennial celebration, but was not offered as a permanent gift.

The document was written in medieval Latin on sheepskin and is still legible after 710 years.

Gang Member guilty in Slaying

The Star Tribune reported that on Friday a jury found a gang member guilty of murdering a teen in Minneapolis.

Jeremy Jackson, 21, of Richfield was found guilty in Hennepin COunty District Court of first-degree murder in the gang-related shooting.

Jackson shot Gennaro Knox on Oct. 5, 2006, in south Minneapolis.

Jackson is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 8, the Star Tribune said.

Jackson, a member of the gang Bloods killed Knox, because he was mistaken for a rival gang member.

Knox was bicycling with a friend in the 2400 block of elliot Avenue S. Knox was shot three times in the head and neck and killed one year ago.

Before this conviction there was one hung jury, before Jackson was convicted.

"My client still maintains his innocence," Jackson's co-counsel Thomas Harmon said after Friday's ruling. "He has to live with the verdict."

Knox's mother said she was satisfied that the verdict and hopes the verdict sends other gang members a message.

"You live by the gun, you die by the gun," Knox said. "That young man will have plenty of time to learn from the mistake he made."


Cancer related to Asbestos in Iron Range Workers

A new state health report was released Friday and gave few details as to why Minnesota Iron Range miners have a higher rate of asbestos-related cancer, the Pioneer Press reported.

The report covers the employment history of 58 miners and found that the men worked for six companies in various parts of the Range and were miners for as little as a year and worked up to 30 years. Some miners were mechanics and others mined in ore pits.

The cause of the cancer is still known, and state health experts said they haven't ruled anything out.

The report found that men in northeastern Minnesota are twice as likely to have mesothelioma as men in the rest of the state.

The minnesota Department of Health and the University of Minnesota are seeking $5 million from the Legislature to find the cause of the increase in cancer rates and access risks for miners today.

The increase in this cancer only shows up in miners and not the whole region, meaning there is not an environmental risk, the report said.

Previous attempts to access the the health problems were stopped by budget cuts, Dr. Alan Bender f the Minnesota Department of Health said.

Mesothelioma is a deadly lung cancer caused almost exclusively by asbestos the Pioneer Press reported. People can be diagnosed years after the exposers, six miners were found to have cancer 60 years after their exposure.

The Star Tribune found that the miners came from seven companies instead of 6 as the Pioneer Press reported, and also stated that the mining companies were spread throughout the range and not concentrated in the east.

In 2003 a study by the Health Department found that the most likely cause of the cancer came from commercial asbestos located in boilers and other equipment at the mines.

Miners do not agreement with this reason and former U.S. District Judge Miles Lord said that the department had not considered all the factors.

November 30, 2007

Blog on Records/CAR

The report by the Star Tribune on the Bridge collapse of 35W is an example of computer assisted reporting.

The report uses records of where cars were, personal testimony and experiences of what happened, and police reports. The use of computers in this report make it possible to be as extensive as it is and as interactive as it is. It is a setup that just wouldn't function in print.

Reporters might have only needed basic blogging skills to actually enter the information, however, someone needed to produce the images and video, which involves programming. The reporting and gathering of information could largely be done by talking to people and witnesses, and victims, but the main computer skills rely on putting the findings online, and presenting them in an easily accessible and visual appealing manner.

The power of this reporting, I think lies in the images and the way in which it is interactive, so in that, a reporter would also need the skills for photography and editing on a computer. I think some of the programming, which although might be useful for a journalist to know, might need a professional. I am not positive about this, but as the site looks very professional, it was something I thought of. If this was not the case the reporters needed in depth computer skills to convey the message in the effective way that they chose.

Plane Crash in Turkey

Two black boxes have been recovered in the search for clues in the cause of the crash of the plan in Turkey, the BBC reported.

57 people, all Turkish, died when the Atlasjet McDonnel Douglas MD-83 jet crashed in south-west Turkey after taking off from Istanbul.

The weather conditions were not bad and the plane had no known technical problems, officials said.

The plane disappeared from radar around 1:36 local time and the wreckage was discovered five hours later in a mountainous area 7.5 miles from the Isparta airport, the plane was about to land at.

The cause of the crash was no immediately clear, Atlas chief executive Tuncay Doganer said.

"Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on television that the transport minister had told him the plane may have clipped a hill," the BBC said.

About 300 soldiers have protected the wreckage.

CNN reported that machinery was used to remove trees for easy access and the area is strewn with debris.

"Can Ertuna, of CNN affiliate station CNN Turk, said that Atlasjet was a relatively new company and that none of its flights had been involved in such a serious incident before."

Men robbed and made to strip

The Pioneer Press reported that tow men were charged with first-degree aggravated robbery this week after the allegedly robbed two male college students at knifepoint.

Gary Gene Littlesoldier, 18, and James Wayne Davis-Drew,19, both of St. Paul allegedly forced the two males into a car and drove to the lower Afton/Battle Creek area of St. Paul and stole their wallets and ordered them into the woods without their shoes or pants.

The two suspects followed the two 19- and 21-year-old students after they left a party at 435 Van Buren Ave. late Saturday night, a criminal complaint filed in Ramsey County District Court said.

The victims are students at Eau Claire, Wis., and had driven to the party, but left because they felt uncomfortable, the criminal complaint said.

The complain says, as the victims left the house, Littlesoldier and Davis-Drew asked them for a cigarette and one pulled out a knife.

"One of the suspects said he had a gun."

The suspects told the victims that they would be killed if they went to the police, the complaint said.

The victims went to several houses and called the police.

Activist win Case against two City Council Members

Minneapolis activists win $3 in a free speech case against two Minneapolis City Council members Thursday, the Star Tribune said.

Al Flowers won $3 from City Council Members Don Samuels and Paul Ostrow.

Flowers said in the Star Tribune that the council members used their positions to get rid of his public access TV show.

Minneapolis will be required to pay attorney fees for Flowers, roughly $50,000.

Jill Clark, Flowers attorney, said that the verdict was worth the fight, but it didn't satisfy Flowers or the council members.

The conflict between the two sides occured, after Flowers had a guest on his show that called Samuels a "house negro" and urged all "house negroes" to be killed.

Samuels said that he feared for his family after the show aired in May 2005.

Samuels had filed a grievance, and Flowers was suspended for three months and was allowed to return to air.

Flowers and Samuels run against each other in politics, after a boundary was redrawn in north Minneapolis.

Men robbed and made to strip

Change in Australian Local Policies

In Australia after a recent election, the new prime minister, Kevin Rudd, of the labor party, announced Thursday that he will make a formal apology to the Aboriginal Australians after he is sworn into office.

A decade ago an inquiry found that the removal of indigenous children from the families was genocide, which is what Rudd is apologizing for.

Among other topics Rudd will cover after being sworn in, is investigating old education policies and supporting the repeal of WorkChoices.

Indigenous leaders welcome the formal apology, the Age said, but said the statement should include a commitment to improve health and living standards of the Aborigines.

The apology is important, the new co-chairman of Reconciliation Australia, Mick Dodson, said, but it is only part of the reconciliation process.

Dodson plans to propose a national plan that would address health, education, housing, and employment concerns.

The Department of the Prime MInister said there is a plan to buy computers for every student 9 to 12 years as part of Rudd's plan to fund education.

Rudd said he planned to have his administration play a larger role in indigenous affairs.

Clinton Campaign Office Hostage Situation


CNN reported, that a man that claimed to have a bomb strapped to his chest took several people hostage Friday at the Sen. Hillary Clinton campaign office in Rochester, New Hampshire.

Lee Eisenberg, 47, walked into the office around 1 p.m. Maj. Michael Hambrook of the New Hampshire State Police said.

One of the hostages contacted CNN Washington and put Eisenberg on the phone, calling multiple times.

The calls were not broadcast at the time, CNN said, because they did not want to compromise the safety of the hostages.

Eisenberg said he had mental problems and had no one to help him,.

Adjacent officrs were evacuated, which included other campaign centers for democrats.

The Star Tribune reported that a Eisenberg walked in and demanded to talk to Hillary Clinton.

Clinton was in Washington during the confrontation, but security precautions were increased for her and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, the Star Tribune said.

During the standoff ended, Eisenberg released a woman with an infant and another woman.

The hostage situation lasted nearly six hours, before Eisenberg peacefully surrendered. No one was injured during the standoff.

November 12, 2007

Bird Flu Outbreak in England

Around 6,500 birds are being slaughtered after avian flu was found in turkeys on a farm in Suffolk, England.

All birds on the farm, including ducks and geese are to be slaughtered after the H5 strain was found in the turkeys.

A 3km protection zone and a 10km surveillance zone have been set up, the BBC said.

Vehicles entering the farm are being sprayed, said police officers in order to contain any potential danger.

It is not yet known if the strain is the H5N1 that has killed some 200 people worldwide, the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs said.

The birds will be gassed and put in sealed containers, officials said.

"All poultry keepers on the British poultry register will be notified and EU officials have been informed," the BBC said.

All birds have been moved indoors to help control the outbreak.

Acting Chief Veterinary Officer Fred Landeg said that the risk of bird flu spreading was increased during the autumn months because of wild bird migration.

More than 160,000 birds were killed after an outbreak of the virulent H5N1 strain of the disease on the farm in February in a farm in Suffolk.


16-year-old suspected of raping 5 strangers

A 16-year-old has been charged with raping two women who he didn't know in Minneapolis, the Star Tribune reported. The boy is suspected in three other recent rapes in the Twin Cities, authorities said Monday and has been taken into custody.

Leonard Miles of Columbia Heights raped a woman around 1 p.m. on Oct. 5 and three weeks later grabbed a woman off of her bicycle and raped her around 7 p.m., court documents said.

He told the victims he had a gun, according to the charges.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said he will seek to have Miles tried as an adult.

Miles is suspected in three other unsolved rape cases in the last month.

The Star Tribune said, Miles was charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct and kidnapping and could receive a prison sentence between 20 to 30 years.

Miles was arrested on Oct. 24. Miles denies rapes.

WCCO said the an off-duty police officer recognized the suspect from a description. Miles was found with one of the victim's cell phones, Sgt. Jesse Garcia, Minneapolis police spokesman, said.

Wetlands in Minnesota

The Star Tribune reported that in Minnesota there is an increasing problem of the disappearance of "prairie potholes" or small ponds and wetlands.

Potholes are a habitat for almost 200 species of migratory birds, the Star Tribune said.

Farmers are ending land-preservation agreements and filling in the land to have more places to plant crops, because of the federal inducements to plant more and the financial rewards of renting out land.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is investigating if potholes are being illegally drained, by flying over the landscape.

A study from the U.S. Government Accountability Office "estimated that it will take 150 years and billions of dollars for the agency to acquire enough land to sustain healthy bird populations."

Because of the increased cost of land, landowners can make more money by renting rather than leaving it in it's natural state.

Around 420,000 potholes are currently in Minnesota and purify water.

In the 1990s contracts were signed by farmers for 10- to 15- year agreements to leave the land as a wildlife habitat, but the trend is changing to turn the land to farm land once the contracts are up, Brent Olson, a farmer in the area, said.

The demand for corn to make ethanol is encouraging farmers to plant more crops.

Draining the potholes will worsen the water quality and increase flood severity, Steve Delehanty, wetland district manager for the Fish and wildlife Service in Morris, Minn., said.

This was the only article I could find on this feature.

Oil Spill in the Black Sea

A rescue effort to save missing seamen was begun on Monday in the northern section of the Black Sea following a storm that sank up to 10 ships and opened an oil tanker, the Christian Science Monitor reported.

The ships were shipwrecked on Sunday in the Kerch Strait that separates Ukraine and Russia. At least 1,300 tons of fuel were spilled when the oil tanker broke in the storm.

There is concern over the environmental effects and the maritime safety and measures should be taken to prevent future disasters, the Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich said. Double hulls should be used on the ships, he said.

7,150 tons of sulfur were also dumped into the strait from at least four freighters that sank. The sulfur may be more dangerous to the environment than the oil, Sergei Baranovsky, president of the Green Cross environmental group, said.

The oil tanker that sank was build during Soviet times and not built for the severe storm conditions and the captains were warned about the storm., Maxim Stepanenko, a regional prosecutor, said.

"In Russia we do not have 100 percent of our ships maintained in a suitable condition as is the practice in the West," said Alexei Kiselyov, coordinator of Greenpeace Russia's antipollution campaigns.

Oleg Mitvol, deputy head of Russia's environment agency, said, "This problem may take a few years to solve."

National Geographic reported that on Monday three sailors bodies were recovered from a freighter that sank. Their bodies washed up near the island of Tuzla.

Rescuers are still looking for five others. 13 crew members have been successfully rescued, authorities said.

This article states that around 1.3 million gallons of oil spilled into the strait.