Wednesday, October 31, 2007
As many politicians look ahead to the next election, at least one former candidate remains focused on the last. In a new lawsuit, 2004 independent candidate Ralph Nader accuses the Democratic Party of a variety of dirty tricks, including trying to keep him off the ballot in several states during the last presidential race. Nader also says party officials conspired to make sure he didn't take votes away from Democratic nominee John Kerry.
Ralph NaderThe lawsuit names the Democratic Party, the Kerry campaign and several Democratic get-out-the vote groups. In a statement, Nader charges the Democratic party with "going after anyone who presents a credible challenge to their monopoly." Among other things, the lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages. It's not clear how much money Nader is seeking. A DNC spokesman did not immediately return a telephone call for comment.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Honduras Finds Radioactive Material In Container
Honduras authorities have found strong traces of radioactive material in a Hong Kong-bound shipping container carrying steel debris from an Atlantic coast port, officials said. During a security scan on Sunday, officials detected high readings of radioactivity emanating from the container at the Puerto Cortes port, 115 miles (185 km) north of Honduras' capital, Tegucigalpa. "We immediately declared an alert and have seized the container for inspection," Edwin Araque, the manager of Honduras' port authority, said.The container belonged to a local company. Docks and ports across the world are scanned for materials that could be used to produce nuclear or dirty bombs. Puerto Cortes was declared a safe port by the United States more than a year ago. A government official said the material found in the container was Cesium-137 and could have come from a hospital. It is often used to sterilize medical equipment and also has a wide range of industrial applications. In March, Spain halted production at a steel plant after workers found the material in a truck.
Monday, October 29, 2007
Japan Warns US Over North Korea
A senior Japanese official has warned the United States that relations will suffer if Washington removes North Korea from a list of terrorist states, amid stepped up efforts to end Pyongyang's nuclear drive. Relations between Tokyo and Pyongyang remain tense in part because of the communist state's kidnappings of Japanese civilians, an issue that arouses deep emotion in Japan. "If the US moves while completely ignoring the abduction issue, you can expect that relations between Japan and the United States will not improve," Kyoko Nakayama, special adviser to Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda on the kidnappings, told reporters in an interview. Japan says North Korean agents abducted 17 Japanese, either from Japan or overseas, between September 1977 and July 1983 to train spies who could then pose as Japanese when infiltrating South Korea. North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il admitted to the kidnappings in 2002, saying the regime had abducted 13 Japanese and allowed five to return home with their families. Pyongyang, contrary to Tokyo's belief, says the others are dead and the issue is closed. "Japan believes the eight (people) that North Korea claims as dead are still alive and are being used as translators or teachers," Nakayama said.North Korea had also kidnapped people of other nationalities, including hundreds of South Koreans, she said. "A country that does not free hostages is a terrorist state, pure and simple," she said. Japan has voiced unease since North Korea entered a six-nation deal in February to dismantle its nuclear programmes in exchange for aid and diplomatic benefits. In the latest step, Pyongyang has pledged to permanently disable its Yongbyon reactor and declare all other nuclear programmes by the end of the year. In return, North Korea wants the US to remove it from its list of state sponsors of terrorism, making it eligible for assistance from the World Bank and other international financial bodies. Former prime minister Shinzo Abe, who resigned last month, long campaigned on the abduction issue and refused Japanese aid for the six-nation nuclear accord, which was signed by China, Japan, the two Koreas, Russia and the US. Fukuda, regarded as more moderate, has stressed that Japan needs "dialogue and pressure" with North Korea. Thomas Schieffer, US ambassador to Japan, said Washington was concerned about the abductions and that the allies "are not going to be divided over this issue"."We believe there has to be substantial progress on the abduction issue for North Korea to rejoin the mainstream of the international community. We hope that would occur," Schieffer told a news conference. Ralph Cossa, president of the Hawaii-based Pacific Forum at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, said Japan and the US had a different understanding of progress. North Korea could agree to "re-examine" the abduction issue, he said, which might constitute progress for the US but not Japan. "Japan's flexibility on the issue may have increased with Abe's departure but the question is, will Pyongyang make some gesture to save face for Fukuda that both Washington and Tokyo will declare to be 'progress'," Cossa said. "Pyongyang is masterful at playing parties against one another and the abductee issue provides that opportunity to divide Washington and Tokyo, especially since Washington clearly and rightfully places much higher priority on closing down North Korea's nuclear capabilities," he said. The growing rift over North Korea comes as Fukuda prepares for his first visit to the US as prime minister, expected next month, and as struggles to persuade the opposition, which controls one house of parliament, to continue support for US-led forces in Afghanistan. The United States has warned, in turn, that a withdrawal of Japanese support would damage ties.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Wal-Mart Employee Charged With Taking Woman's Picture With Cell Phone
A Wal-Mart employee was arrested Monday after he took cell phone pictures of a shopper's bottom, Round Rock police said. The shopper said she heard a camera click behind her as she walked through the store at 4700 East Palm Valley Blvd. When she turned around, she saw 23-year-old Baldemar Vela acting as if he were talking on the phone, according to an arrest affidavit. She took a picture of Vela with her own camera phone and went to Wal-Mart management to complain.Vela later told police that he followed the woman because he found her attractive, according to the affidavit. He also said that he had taken as many as 20 such pictures of other women. "The safety and security and customers are our top priority. Unfortunately, we are unable to comment on personnel issues," Wal-Mart spokeswoman Jami Arms said. Vela was charged with improper photography or visual recording, a state jail felony punishable by to up to 2 years in state jail.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Marine’s Father Sues Church For Cheering Son’s Death
The father of a Marine killed in Iraq took the stand in his invasion of privacy suit against a fundamentalist church that pickets soldiers' funerals, saying protesters carrying signs at his son's burial made him sick to his stomach. Albert Snyder said he had hoped for a private funeral for his son, Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder. "They turned this funeral into a media circus and they wanted to hurt my family," Snyder testified. "They wanted their message heard and they didn't care who they stepped over. My son should have been buried with dignity, not with a bunch of clowns outside." Snyder is suing the Westboro Baptist church, whose members have picketed the funerals of military personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, claiming the deaths are punishment for the country's tolerance of homosexuality. The York resident is seeking unspecified monetary damages in the case for invasion of privacy and intent to inflect emotional distress as a result of the Topeka, Kan., church's protest at his son's funeral in Westminster in March 2006. The church's protests have inspired several state laws and a federal law about funeral protests, but the Maryland suit is believed to be the first filed by the family of a fallen serviceman.
Lance Cpl. Matthew SnyderAsked about a sign that read "Thank God for dead soldiers," Snyder said he thinks about it daily. "I see that sign when I lay in bed," Snyder said. Asked about statements issued by the group that his son was raised to support the "Roman Catholic monstrosity" and then sent to fight for the "United States of Sodomy," Snyder said "they have no right to do this to people they didn't know." During cross-examination, defense attorney Jonathan Katz focused on obituaries and death notices and questioned Snyder on whether they said the funeral services were private. Snyder replied that the notices said friends and family were welcome, but admitted that he did not know all of the 500 or so people who attended. The case tests the limits of the First Amendment right to free speech. U.S. District Court Judge Richard Bennett instructed jurors at the start of testimony Tuesday that the First Amendment protection of free speech has limits, including vulgar, offensive and shocking statements. Bennett said the jurors must decide "whether the defendant's actions would be highly offensive to a reasonable person, whether they were extreme and outrageous, and whether these actions were so offensive and shocking as to not be entitled to First Amendment protection." Church members said they are motivated by the fear of God and their need to warn America about its moral decay, rather than a desire to hurt anyone.Katz told jurors the protests took place 1,000 feet away from St. John Catholic Church, where the funeral was held, down a hill and out of sight and hearing from participants. Snyder said American military personnel are in Iraq fighting for freedom of speech "they're not fighting for hate speech." One photo showing a child holding a sign at the funeral protest was particularly disturbing, the father said. "I pray for their children. Their children need help. To be brought up with that kind of hatred," Snyder said. "My God is loving God," Snyder said, adding later "I don't look for hatred in the Bible." The church's founder and pastor, Fred Phelps, took the stand after Snyder and prompted a strong admonition from Bennett when the pastor said he had not considered whether children would see a sign carried by protesters with the words "Semper Fi Fags" and two stick figures that appear to be engaged in sodomy. "No, it's an irrelevancy," Phelps said. Bennett then interjected sharply. "Just answer the question, sir. Don't determine what's relevant or not relevant. You just answer the question," Bennett said. Phelps said he chose to use the term "fag" in the group's signs because it comes from scripture but could also have used Sodomite or dog. When asked by Katz why the group made a "Semper Fi Fags" sign, Phelps said it was in response to the need for a warning to the country "that your wicked ways are going to be your doom shortly."
Friday, October 26, 2007
Government Report Questions Railway Bridge Safety
After a train carrying hazardous chemicals derailed in Duluth in 1992, a federal investigation found rail failure on the bridge approach. Their report was critical of the railroad’s inspection practices. Today reporters found out that not much has changed. A government report obtained by reporters calls into question the safety of railway bridges. On average, trains cross a bridge every mile and a half, but unlike highway bridges, railway bridges are privately owned. This means the inspections are left up to the railroads. According to the GAO report, more than half of the nation’s railway bridges were built before 1920. The report says many bridges have not been replaced and some are being used long after their original useful life. From 1998 to 2006, 22 train accidents were attributed to bridge structural failure. The report calls for railroads to "increase their attention to bridge safety and bridge management programs".According to state records, there are more than two-dozen railroads doing business in Minnesota. Mike Schwab, of the Department of Homeland Security, said railroads provide the state with only the most basic information about their cars, tracks and bridges. "They supply what is necessary to submit our reports to the government," Schwab said. "I would not say they go beyond that." The government report says government officials tried to get a handle on the true condition of rail bridges, but in some cases, found that railroads do not keep inspection reports. Others could not even provide a full list of the bridges they own. Congressman Jim Oberstar said the railroads themselves have not invested in new bridges and the Federal Railroad Administration has not done enough to police the rail industry. By the end of the year, the FRA will send out a formal advisory, urging railroads to take a closer look at their bridges and their inspection policies.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Tiller The Baby Killer Wants Grand Jury Stopped
One of the nation's few late-term abortion providers is asking Kansas' highest court to block a grand jury investigation of him and his Wichita clinic that was initiated by anti-abortion groups. Kansas is one of the few states where citizens can petition to impanel a grand jury. Anti-abortion groups collected nearly 7,900 signatures, more than three times the number required, to force Sedgwick County to create a grand jury to consider whether Dr. George Tiller (the baby killer) violated a 1998 state law restricting late-term abortions. Tiller denies the allegations and wants the Kansas Supreme Court to prevent the panel from convening. The grand jury is scheduled to meet Tuesday. "This is a proceeding brought for harassment and in bad faith by the petition gatherers," Tiller attorney Lee Thompson said Wednesday. "You approach the level of vigilantism, and I think we see that happening in this instance." Tiller's attorneys filed a petition Friday with the high court, which has not scheduled a hearing. Mary Kay Culp, executive director of Kansans for Life, said abortion opponents sought a grand jury because of Tiller's influence in state politics and because potential violations of the law have been ignored for years. Kansans for Life is the state's largest anti-abortion group and was heavily involved in the Sedgwick County petition drive.
Tiller The Baby Killer"Nothing Dr. Tiller or any of his lawyers do surprises me — nothing," Culp said. "It makes have to wonder just what it is they're so afraid of." Historically, Kansans have not used their power to convene grand juries much, but this is the second time in 18 months abortion foes have done so to investigate Tiller. Last year, a grand jury reviewed the death of a Texas woman who had had an abortion at Tiller's clinic but issued no indictments. Attorney General Paul Morrison, a Democrat who supports abortion rights, filed 19 misdemeanor charges against Tiller in June in Sedgwick County. Morrison alleges Tiller failed to get a second opinion on some late-term abortions from an independent physician, as required by state law. But many abortion opponents believe Morrison should have focused on allegations that Tiller violated restrictions designed to limit late-term abortions to medical emergencies. "The Tiller situation is the perfect example of why this venue ought to be available to the public," Culp said. In Tiller's petition to the Supreme Court, his attorneys argue that anti-abortion groups have a financial interest in his prosecution. Among other things, Tiller's petition says, abortion opponents sold bumper stickers saying, "Charge Tiller. It's the law." The same slogan has appeared on T-shirts abortion opponents have worn at rallies. Culp responded to Thompson's comments by pointing to Tiller's own political activities, which have included forming a political action committee in 2002.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
University Of Minnesota Classes Canceled After Bomb Threat
The University of Minnesota Police Department received a bomb threat, canceling the classes on Tuesday. The threat was issued for Blegen Hall, the Social Sciences Tower and Anderson Hall on the West Bank. The buildings were evacuated and closed for the day.Evening classes were canceled in these three buildings. Individuals in Blegen Hall, Social Sciences Tower and Anderson Hall should were asked to secure their workspaces, take personal possessions and leave for the day.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Poland Prepares For New Government
Poland's prospective new prime minister turned Monday to forming a government that wants lower taxes, Polish troops out of Iraq, and better relations with the rest of Europe. Donald Tusk, whose Civic Platform party soundly defeated Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski's Law and Justice party Sunday, turned aside questions about an alliance with either of two smaller parties needed to reach a majority. He said after a Civic Platform leadership meeting that the new parliament would meet Nov. 5 "and only then serious talks about the political future will be possible." Another party official, Bogdan Zdrojewski, said the party's national council will meet Nov. 10 to decide on potential coalition partners. Tusk wants to turn Poland from Kaczynski's focus on rooting out former communists and toward seizing the economic opportunities that come with membership in the European Union, which Poland joined in 2004. He also wants to bring Poland's 900 troops home from Iraq and push for more rewards for Poland in return for hosting a U.S. missile defence base aimed at stopping potential attacks from Iran. With 99 per cent of the results in, Civic Platform led with 41.4 per cent and a projected 209 seats in the 460-seat lower house of parliament. Kaczynski's Law and Justice party trailed with 32.2 per cent and 166 seats.
Leader of the Civic Platform Donald Tusk, centre, accompanied with his wife Malgorzata, left, and his daughter Katarzyna, right, look on after the announcement of the exit polls of the general elections in Warsaw, Poland.Turnout was 53.8 per cent, higher than in any parliamentary election since the 1989 fall of communism, a sign of the passionate debate about Poland's overall direction and place in Europe during the campaign. Two years ago, when Law and Justice defeated Civic Platform, turnout was 40.57 per cent. Kaczynski's twin, President Lech Kaczynski, has the job of nominating his brother's replacement. Lech Kaczynski is in office until 2010 and could make life awkward for the new government by exercising his veto. The new government is expected to be tighter with public money, and the Standard & Poor's credit rating agency said that while the government's debt rating was unchanged, a Civic Platform-led government "could ultimately benefit the ratings." Poland's economy has shown a strong growth rate of 5.8 per cent annually in the first six months of the year, but unemployment is at 12 per cent, and many have left for work in Britain and Ireland. The Civic Platform party wants to cap annual increases in government spending and run smaller deficits, a step that would bring Poland toward joining the euro currency. Tusk's top economic adviser, Zbigniew Chlebowski, said the party would seek to link the zloty in a 15 per cent trading band with the euro in 2009, a necessary test of monetary stability before joining. Kaczynski also supported joining the euro, but was in less of a hurry and favoured more government spending and social welfare benefits. His defeat appeared to be a verdict by younger, European-oriented Poles against his assertive stance toward Europe and his focus on barring former communists from public life. Kaczynski clashed with the European Union on a number of issues, including Polish voting strength, a proposal to build a highway through a protected peat bog and the death penalty. Short of the 231 seats needed for a majority, Civic Platform has said it could join with the Polish Peasants Party, which received 8.9 per cent and 31 seats, to form a government. Another party, the Left and Democrats, offers another possible coalition partner. Kaczynski forced the election two years early in a failed gamble to strengthen his support after a coalition with two smaller parties collapsed.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Origin Of Vision Discovered
You are reading these words right now because 600 million years ago, an aquatic animal called a Hydra developed light-receptive genes—the origin of animal vision. It wasn't exactly 20-20 vision back then though. Hydras, a genus of freshwater animals that are kin to corals and jellyfish, measure only a few millimeters in diameter and have been around for hundreds of millions of years. Scientists at the University of California, Santa Barbara studied the genes associated with vision (called opsins) in these tiny creatures and found opsin proteins all over their bodies. Though they don't have eyes or any specific light-receptive organs, researchers think that the light-sensing proteins concentrated in the mouth area of the Hydras help them to use light sensitivity to search out prey.Because studies of animals that evolved earlier, such as sponges, don't show the same light sensitivity, scientists were able to pinpoint the Precambrian date that animal vision first started to evolve. "We now have a time frame for the evolution of animal light sensitivity," said study leader David Plachetzki, a UC Santa Barbara graduate student. "We know its precursors existed roughly 600 million years ago. These findings, detailed in a recent issue of the online journal PLoS ONE, counter arguments by anti-evolutionists that evolution can only eliminate traits and cannot produce new features, the authors say. “Our paper shows that such claims are simply wrong," said co-author Todd Oakley, also a UC Santa Barbara biologist. "We show very clearly that specific mutational changes in a particular duplicated gene (opsin) allowed the new genes to interact with different proteins in new ways. Today, these different interactions underlie the genetic machinery of vision, which is different in various animal groups.”
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Abu Sayyaf Terror Group Behind Makati Blast?
The bombing attack which killed at least nine people and injured more than 100 in Makati, the financial center of the Philippines, could be staged by the Abu Sayyaf terrorists, said a senior Filipino official on Saturday. National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales told local radio that based on intelligence reports, "a terrorist group" was raising funds from foreign sponsors and "needed to convince prospective donors". "One of the intelligence reports we received was that a terrorist group is raising funds. If you can't show you mean business, you cannot get funds," Gonzales said in an interview on dzRH radio.The number of dead in Friday's bombing attack upon the popular Glorietta shopping mall in Makati, Metro Manila, has risen to nine, while about 100 are still being treated in hospital, said police on Saturday. Gonzalez would not name Abu Sayyaf as the group who staged the attack. Abu Sayyaf, which has ties with the Indonesia-based Jemaah Islamiyah and the Al-Qaeda international terrorist network, recently took to Internet-based video-sharing sites such as YouTube, to appeal to prospective donors for funds from abroad, according to Filipino intelligence officials.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Sri Lanka Travel Warning Alert Issued To U.S. Citizens
This Travel Warning provides updated security information and alerts American citizens traveling to or living in Sri Lanka about the continuing danger of terrorist actions against military, government, and economic targets in certain areas of the country. This supersedes the Travel Warning for Sri Lanka dated April 5, 2007. The Department of State specifically warns Americans against travel to northern and eastern areas of Sri Lanka. While the government has effectively controlled the eastern part of the country since July 2007, security is not yet assured. Some LTTE members and larger numbers of armed paramilitary members are active in the area, leading to instability and incidents of violence. This situation is likely to continue for some time. Americans are particularly warned against travel to LTTE-controlled areas in the north, which may pose severe hazards. Official travel by U.S. Government personnel to areas north of a line following the highway from Puttalam through Anuradhapura to Polonaruwa, Bibile, and Pottuvil in the northern and eastern parts of Sri Lanka is restricted, and unofficial travel is prohibited. In March 2007, the U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka sustained a minor injury just after a Sri Lankan military helicopter he was traveling in was attacked shortly after landing at a military base in Batticaloa. The Ambassador was not the specific target of the LTTE attack. The Department also alerts American citizens to the dangers posed by recent acts of terrorism throughout Sri Lanka. Although other parts of the country remain largely unaffected, the LTTE has conducted attacks outside of the northern and eastern areas. On March 26, 2007, the Katunayake Air Force Base in Colombo came under attack from LTTE aircraft, causing the adjacent Bandaranaike International Airport briefly to curtail operations. On April 29, 2007, the LTTE attacked two oil facilities in the Colombo area. On October 15, 2007, the LTTE attacked a Sri Lankan Army camp in Yala National Sanctuary, located in southeastern Sri Lanka. Foreign tourists were not the objects of these attacks and none were injured. Although there is no specific indication that American citizens or institutions are targets, there is a general risk of American citizens being victims of violence simply by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Politically-motivated assassinations have taken place throughout Sri Lanka, including several in the Colombo area. In many cases, these assassinations involve the use of fragmentation bombs. American citizens in Sri Lanka should be aware of their personal surroundings and follow good security practices. Americans should avoid large crowds or public gatherings and should particularly stay away from political rallies and military bases in Sri Lanka. Americans should comply with all instructions from security forces and police when traveling in Sri Lanka. American citizens, including those of Sri Lankan origin, living in Sri Lanka or traveling there for even a few days are strongly urged to register with the Embassy. Registration will allow the embassy to provide direct information on the security situation as necessary. Registration is done on-line and can be done in advance of travel at https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/ . Information on registering can also be found at the Embassy website: http://srilanka.usembassy.gov%20/or at the Department of State's Consular Affairs website: http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/registration/registration_1186.html. As the Department continues to develop information on any potential security threats to U.S. citizens overseas, it shares credible threat information through its consular information documents, available on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov . In addition to information on the Internet, travelers may obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the U.S. and Canada or, outside the U.S. and Canada, on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444
Friday, October 19, 2007
Russia Launches Ballistic Missile
Russia carried out a successful test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile. The Topol RS-12M rocket hit its intended target on Kamchatka near the Pacific Ocean, the Russian Strategic Missile Forces said in a statement. The launch, from the Plesetsk launch facility in northern Russia, was part of the country's plan to upgrade its ballistic missiles and extend the life of its Topol missiles.The successful test will allow Russia to maintain the Topol rocket for 21 years, the statement said, significantly more than the original 10 years forecast. "Extending the service life of the Topol missile class will allow for the replacement of rockets being phased out with a new generation of rocket without putting a burden on the military budget," the statement said.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Drew Carey Shows His Libertarian Colors
Comedian Drew Carey, who debuted Monday as the host of "The Price Is Right," is showing his libertarian colors by participating in a series of videos for the Reason Foundation's new Web site Reason.tv. The short videos will focus on the libertarian think tank's belief in what it calls "free minds and free markets." Carey said in a statement issued by Reason: "We need Reason to help fight the stupid drug laws, the stupid immigration laws, and stupid big government in general." In his first video, Carey examines traffic congestion in Los Angeles and the ways the private sector rather than taxpayers can solve the problem.Ten years ago, according to NewsBusters.org, Carey told Reason magazine about government: "The less the better. As far as your personal goals are and what you actually want to do with your life, it should never have to do with the government. You should never depend on the government for your retirement, your financial security, for anything. If you do, you're screwed." Carey has been politically active over the years. He performed at the White House Correspondents Association dinner in 2002, and the ex-Marine entertained troops in Iraq in 2003. He's been a financial backer of Republican Sen. George Voinovich of Ohio, Reuters reported, and in 1998 led a "smoke-in" in defiance of a no-smoking ordinance. More recently, he has expressed his distaste for the Bush administration's handling of the Iraq war.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
No Interest In Gore
Al Gore's Nobel Peace Prize hasn't translated into an increase in support for a presidential bid, a poll found Tuesday. Asked if they would like to see the former vice president run for president in 2008, people said no by a 54 percent to 41 percent margin, according to a Gallup Poll. That was about the same as last March, when people opposed his running 57 percent to 38 percent. Even among Democrats there was no visible surge of interest in Gore. In the new survey, 48 percent said they would like him to run and 43 percent said they would not. Last March, Democrats were in favor of him entering the race 54 percent to 41 percent _ statistically the same as the new poll.Gore, who won the prize last Friday for his work raising awareness of global warming, has not said he is a candidate for the White House but has never definitively ruled it out -- including for a race in the future. When Democrats were asked their preference for their party's presidential nomination for next year, Gore was chosen by 14 percent _ far behind Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., and just behind Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. That was about the same support he received in a Gallup Poll in early October. The poll was conducted Oct. 12-14 and involved telephone interviews with 1,009 adults. The overall margin of sampling error was plus or minus three percentage points. The question on Gore running for president was asked of 502 adults and had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus five percentage points. That included 183 Democrats, with a margin of sampling error of plus or minus eight percentage points.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Abu Sayyaf Militants Receive New Funds
Abu Sayyaf militants received funds from an unidentified donor after posting an Internet video of the group's founders appealing for financial support, the Philippines' main intelligence agency said. The al-Qaeda-linked group may use the money to finance attacks, and the discovery led intelligence officials to recommend maintaining a high-level alert for October in the southern Mindanao region, said the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency. The Abu Sayyaf and at least three other militant groups have waged a bloody rebellion for years in the area. The information on the new funds was contained in a NICA report, portions of which were viewed Sunday by reporters. "There was a report of new money received by the ASG (Abu Sayyaf group) financial network," said the document sent to the National Security Council, which advises President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on security concerns. "The money arrived after the ASG group uploaded videos on the Internet." It was not clear from the NICA report how much money was received, when it arrived, or who sent it. In the past, supporters in the Middle East have been known to send money to the Abu Sayyaf.
Monday, October 15, 2007
A Clear Head On Global Warming
One of the world's foremost meteorologists has called the theory that helped Al Gore share the Nobel Peace Prize "ridiculous" and the product of "people who don't understand how the atmosphere works". Dr. William Gray, a pioneer in the science of seasonal hurricane forecasts, told a packed lecture hall at the University of North Carolina that humans were not responsible for the warming of the earth. His comments came on the same day that the Nobel committee honoured Mr Gore for his work in support of the link between humans and global warming. "We're brainwashing our children," said Dr Gray, 78, a long-time professor at Colorado State University. "They're going to the Gore movie [An Inconvenient Truth] and being fed all this. It's ridiculous." At his first appearance since the award was announced in Oslo, Mr Gore said: "We have to quickly find a way to change the world's consciousness about exactly what we're facing." Mr Gore shared the Nobel prize with the United Nations climate panel for their work in helping to galvanise international action against global warming.
Dr. William GrayBut Dr Gray, whose annual forecasts of the number of tropical storms and hurricanes are widely publicised, said a natural cycle of ocean water temperatures - related to the amount of salt in ocean water - was responsible for the global warming that he acknowledges has taken place. However, he said, that same cycle meant a period of cooling would begin soon and last for several years. "We'll look back on all of this in 10 or 15 years and realise how foolish it was," Dr Gray said. During his speech to a crowd of about 300 that included meteorology students and a host of professional meteorologists, Dr Gray also said those who had linked global warming to the increased number of hurricanes in recent years were in error. He cited statistics showing there were 101 hurricanes from 1900 to 1949, in a period of cooler global temperatures, compared to 83 from 1957 to 2006 when the earth warmed. "The human impact on the atmosphere is simply too small to have a major effect on global temperatures," Dr Gray said. He said his beliefs had made him an outsider in popular science. "It bothers me that my fellow scientists are not speaking out against something they know is wrong," he said. "But they also know that they'd never get any grants if they spoke out. I don't care about grants."
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Polish Party In Doghouse Over Ad
A Warsaw court has ordered an opposition party to apologize publicly to the speaker of parliament - for making false claims about him and his dog. The Left and Democrats opposition party claimed in a radio ad, ahead of October 21 general elections, that Saba, a schnauzer belonging to Parliamentary Speaker Ludwik Dorn, destroyed furniture in government offices. They further claimed that Dorn had refused to pay for the damage, and accused the ruling right-wing Law and Justice party, to which Dorn belongs, of misusing public money.
Ludwik DornWojciech Malek, a spokesman for Warsaw's district court, said that the court determined that the information was false and ordered the Left and Democrats - an alliance of ex-communists and center-right politicians - to apologize in radio broadcasts that must run three times over three days. The court ordered the party to say in the ad that its electoral committee 'apologizes for spreading untrue information alleging that his dog Saba destroyed furniture in the ministry, that is, that it chewed it and that Ludwik Dorn did not pay for the destroyed goods.' The claims about Dorn and his dog were first made by the weekly magazine Wprost in an article last month citing an unspecified anonymous source. The Left and Democrats have appealed the ruling, forcing a delay of the apology. The party's leader, Wojciech Olejniczak, defended his party's ad, saying it had taken its information from Wprost, and noting that the magazine has not rescinded that claim. 'Our goal was not to offend the dog Saba,' Olejniczak was quoted as saying.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Captain America Lives! Hero to Return in 2008
You can't keep a good American down. Marvel Entertainment announced that its slain hero Captain America will rise again with a new outfit and a new secret identity, after the character was killed off in March by a sniper's bullet in a storyline on the War on Terror. The company unveiled the patriotic superhero's new look with artwork by Alex Ross and Steve Epting for the new issue, No. 34, to hit comic book shops in January 2008.Captain America will return with his trademark shield, but he also will have some new firepower. The artists are bringing the hero back with a gun. "I always try and look back in the character's history to something that maybe was a forgotten costume element from a bygone age, maybe one of the earlier costume elements, to see if you could bring that part back," Ross told Marvel.com. "Well, funny enough, there's this awful movie serial made in the '40s with Cap where he had no shield, no wings on his mask, no white sleeves, little tiny gloves, and he carried a gun."
While the famed hero is returning to fight the good fight, Marvel made clear that the original character, Steve Rogers, remains dead. A yet-to-be-revealed character will don this new Captain America suit. In March, Dan Buckley, the president and publisher of Marvel Entertainment's publishing group, told reporters that Captain America's return was a possibility. "Everything is possible in the world of make-believe."
While the famed hero is returning to fight the good fight, Marvel made clear that the original character, Steve Rogers, remains dead. A yet-to-be-revealed character will don this new Captain America suit. In March, Dan Buckley, the president and publisher of Marvel Entertainment's publishing group, told reporters that Captain America's return was a possibility. "Everything is possible in the world of make-believe."
Science, Logic Gored By Nobel
At least Al Gore hasn't won a Nobel for science. That really would have ruined the prize's reputation. But awarding the peace prize to Gore and the UN's panel of scientists on climate change comes a close second for at least two reasons. The Nobel Committee's award is premised on the idea that the dire warnings about global warming emanating from the two recipients might prevent war in the future by... Well, by what exactly? Increasing awareness of the environmental problems the planet faces is a good thing. Whether that makes the world a safer place is another. After all, the growth of international trade - and pollution with it - that arguably has done most to prevent a world war and reduce other conflict in the past 50 years. t's a shame that the U.N. officials actually charged with keeping the peace - rather than those running computer models based on unreliable assumptions about the climate decades from now - aren't worthy of a prize. If there has been and is going to be less armed conflict over natural resources, the spread of global markets might be the reason rather than a former U.S. presidential candidate with time on his hands and an exercise in science-by-committee.It's far easier and cheaper to buy and sell the resources you want than go to war over them. Exploiting financial markets may be the best way to find a solution to the problem of carbon emissions, at least to the degree they're a problem on the scale of ills such as a range of pollutants, disease and huge shortfalls in schools, hospitals, power stations and other infrastructure in many parts of the world. The Nobel judges would be pushed to claim that the two recipients have prevented any wars to date. Secondly, awarding Gore et al the prize indirectly endorses the science underpinning their views. Here, the timing is particularly unfortunate, given the latest publicity over the errors in Gore's Oscar-winning film on global warming "An Inconvenient Truth." Those mistakes have proved sufficiently inconvenient in themselves for a British judge to rule the film, rashly handed out to schools in the U.K, has to be accompanied by a warning, alerting children to nine inaccuracies it contains. It leaves you with the suspicion that had the Nobel Committee been around at the time of the Italian Renaissance, they would have awarded the Church a peace prize, not Galileo.
Friday, October 12, 2007
Al-Qaida Linked Militants Plan Bombings
The Philippines' southern provinces were on maximum alert Friday after police warned that Al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf militants plan to resume a bombing and terror campaign after the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan ends. Former members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, a large Muslim rebel group in peace talks with the government, have plotted attacks against major military, police and civilian targets in the cities of Cagayan de Oro, Davao and General Santos, which could include kidnapping of foreigners and ambushes, the national police said in a statement Thursday. National Police Chief Avelino Razon has ordered "maximum security coverage" at possible terror targets, including critical infrastructures, malls, transport hubs, and religious shrines, the statement said. "The ASG (Abu Sayyaf Group) and their allied foreign jihadists, plus some rogue MILF members have taken advantage of the Ramadan to recuperate, replenish their logistic resources, recruit new members and plot their next move," Razon said in the statement. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has declared Friday a nationwide holiday for Eid al-Fitr, the festival to mark the end of Ramadan. The predominantly Roman Catholic country has a Muslim minority in the south, where at least three Muslim guerrilla groups have waged a separatist insurrection for decades."I have directed all my commanders in the field to intensify their security operations against terrorism to ensure a peaceful and orderly observance of Eid al-Fitr," Razon said. Abu Sayyaf commanders and rebels met Aug. 26 near a village in Al-Barka township on southern Basilan island "and drafted several plans to stage bombings in Zamboanga city and other nearby areas after ... Ramadan," the national police said, citing intelligence reports. Western embassies have warned their nationals in recent months from traveling to the volatile south due to possible bombings, kidnappings and other attacks, citing intelligence information and a series of bomb attacks on passenger buses — possibly the handiwork of terrorists or extortion gangs. Muslim insurgents, including members of the Abu Sayyaf, remain capable of producing bombs for new attacks despite years of U.S.-backed offensives that have inflicted considerable battle setbacks and led to the loss of many militant camps, the military and police say. The military estimates that Abu Sayyaf, which has been blamed for deadly bombings, high-profile ransom kidnappings and beheadings, has 300-400 guerrillas, down from more than 1,000 during its heyday in early 2000. The group is blacklisted by Washington as a terrorist organization. Security officials have long suspected that the MILF — which is engaged in Malaysian-brokered peace talks with the government — has operational links and provides sanctuary to the Abu Sayyaf and Indonesian terror suspects hiding in the south. The MILF has denied any links with terror groups and pledged to help the government capture long-wanted militants.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Japanese Man Kidnapped In Iran
Japan said Thursday it was working with Tehran to free a 23-year-old Japanese university student kidnapped as he traveled alone in lawless southeastern Iran. The student, whose name was not given due to security reasons, was taken captive Monday and he was confirmed to be safe as of Wednesday, an official at the foreign ministry said. Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura said he spoke by telephone with his Iranian counterpart Manouchehr Mottaki to ask for assistance. "I asked him for his cooperation in safely rescuing the kidnapped person," Komura told reporters. "He said they have identified the whereabouts of the abductee and he told me he will make efforts to resolve the issue," Komura said. Japan has discouraged its nationals from visiting the area, known for banditry, near the border with Pakistan and Afghanistan.In August, two Belgians went missing in southeastern Iran but were soon found free and unharmed. Japanese authorities declined comment on who was behind the kidnapping, but public broadcaster NHK said that Iran had identified the group responsible. The foreign ministry has set up an emergency task force to resolve the incident headed by Senior Vice-Minister Itsunori Onodera. Japan has historically had cordial relations with Iran, both before and after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Japan has taken a lower profile than its Western allies in pressuring Tehran on its nuclear drive, although Tokyo last year pulled out of a project to develop Iran's largest onshore oil field.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
MnDOT Unveils 35W Bridge Designs
A soaring yet spartan concrete bridge set atop 70-foot piers will replace the collapsed Interstate 35W bridge over the Mississippi River. Conceptual drawings were made public Monday by the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the companies it hired to build the replacement bridge, which actually comprises twin five-lane spans. "It is a sculptural bridge where the form and the function work with proportion and elegance to create a model for other bridges in America," said Linda Figg, president of the FIGG Bridge Engineers design firm. From a safety standpoint, the new bridge will include high-tech monitors and multiple backup systems that were absent in the collapsed steel bridge. A ceremonial groundbreaking is likely next week, but the heavy work probably won't start until November, said Peter Sanderson, the project manager for Flatiron Constructors Inc. Flatiron and Manson Construction Co., both headquartered outside of Minnesota, will build it. The unveiling came just a few hours after another state agency recommended rejection of a protest by two losing bidders. C.S. McCrossan Construction and a joint team of Ames Construction and Lunda Construction had argued that the bidding process was flawed.They lost despite submitting a cheaper bid, with a shorter timetable, than the winning bid of nearly $234 million. In a 17-page opinion Monday, contracts manager Betsy Hayes and chief procurement officer Kent Allin wrote that nothing in the bidding process was "arbitrary or capricious," as the protesters alleged. Their report said all six of the technical evaluators who examined the proposal rated the Flatiron proposal "significantly higher" than the others. It said "reasonable people" could conclude that the advantages of Flatiron's proposal are worth the extra costs. And it said all evidence is that the bids were evaluated with "seriousness of purpose, professionalism and integrity." "No procurement process of this magnitude and complexity is perfect," the report said. "Too many variables, both human and technical, are in play. But perfection is not required. If it were, state work could never proceed." Dean Thomson, an attorney for the protesting bidders, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.The Aug. 1 bridge collapse killed 13 people and injured about 100. MnDOT issued its request for proposals for a replacement Aug. 23, with a goal of opening the new bridge by the end of 2008. When they filed their protest last month, the losing bidders said they were misled into believing that the cost and construction schedule were the most important criteria. But Monday's report said MNDOT's request for proposals detailed other essential criteria as well and how all the various elements would be weighed to determine the winner. The losing bidders alleged that MnDOT preferred a concrete bridge over a steel bridge, but didn't say so in its specifications. But the report concluded there was no evidence that MnDOT was predisposed to select a concrete bridge. The losing bidders also complained that the proposals shouldn't have been evaluated on public relations and aesthetics grounds. The report said Flatiron would have finished first even if they weren't.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Minnesota Marine Honors 35W Bridge Collapse Victims
A Minnesota Marine paid special tribute to the victims of the 35W bridge collapse, even when he was halfway across the world. 1st Lieutenant Nathan (he asks that we not use his last name because of his mission) was serving in Iraq when the 35W bridge collapsed. Immediately he knew he wanted to honor the victims. "I flew a flag all day, one flag for each family that lost a loved one," said Nathan. On Monday, Nathan met the 13 families of the collapse victims and handed out the 13 flags he flew in Iraq. "It’s very moving, here somebody has lost a loved one and yet they’re thanking me for something very small," said Nathan. For the victims’ families, the Marine’s compassion was overwhelming. "The fact that he would do this with everything he's going through just tells you what type of people Americans are," said one of Christina Sacorafas' relatives Bill Dentinger.Each flag was identical, but what will be done with each of them differs for each family. Lisa Jolstad said she’d hold hers close as a reminder of her late husband Greg. "I don't know about unfolding it. I might just leave it like this and display it. I’m not quite sure, but it really means a lot," said Jolstad. Hal Eiskstadt, whose brother Paul died while driving a truck over the bridge, said his flag would rotate among Paul’s three siblings. "It'll be a family heirloom and something that reminds us of Paul and reminds us of Nathan and what a great thing he did," said Eiskstadt. Nathan served two tours in Iraq. He hopes the flags will serve as symbols of hope and love for the grieving families.
Monday, October 08, 2007
Postal Service Unveils Stamp Marking Minnesota's 150th Birthday
The U.S. Postal service has unveiled a new stamp to celebrate the state of Minnesota's 150th birthday in 2008. The stamp was unveiled at Winona State University. Anthony Williams is the Postal Service's Northland District Manager. He says the stamp was chosen from 50-thousand ideas, which were then narrowed down to 25 finalists.The stamp shows a picture of Winona's interstate bridge across the Mississippi River. It also depicts many of the river's islands above the bridge that are part of the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge. The stamp will be issued in 2008.
Sunday, October 07, 2007
'Homeland Security' T-Shirt Yanked Off Museum's Shelves
On the weekend of the Columbus Day holiday, a T-shirt is at the center of a long-standing conflict between those who celebrate the holiday and those who say it doesn't deserve to be celebrated. The T-shirt had been for sale at the Colorado History Museum, but has recently been pulled off the racks. The T-shirt features four Native Americans with guns along with the slogan: "Homeland Security. Fighting terrorism since 1492." You can't buy it at the museum anymore, but jump over to the 16th Street Mall, and you'll find it at the Only in Colorado shop. "We don't sell it because it's controversial. We pretty much sell it because it sells really well. It's one of our best-selling shirts in this store," said store employee May Joo. In fact, in a store packed with T-shirts, it's the third best seller.At the Colorado History Museum, visitor Jonathan Hagn learned that he would have to walk away empty-handed. "I was told I couldn't buy it because they're not selling it," Hagn said. The shirt was yanked off the gift store shelves after some found it offensive. The shirt hints to the premise that explorers such as Christopher Columbus were essentially "terrorists" when they invaded a land that had already been occupied. Protesters to the Columbus Day holiday say that Columbus shouldn't be celebrated for discovering America because Columbus' "discovery" led to the oppression, degradation and deaths of hundreds of thousands of Native Americans. Coincidentally, there are current exhibits at the museum featuring the history of the Italians and Native Americans. The gift shop owner said one complaint letter led to the store removing the T-shirt. According to the company that prints the shirts, the history museum sold so many that they would have to order a new batch every week just to keep up with the demand. But that was before the controversy started.
Defendant Does Push-Ups In Court; Charges Against Him Dropped
A defendant dropped down and performed 50 push-ups in court Friday, and a prosecutor dropped the charges against him. The dismissal of Chase C. Allen's misdemeanor trespassing and disorderly conduct charges apparently helped smooth the way for the 20-year-old Marine recruit to report to boot camp. The unusual resolution during a morning session in Marion Superior Court prompted applause from the gallery, Judge Barbara Collins said later. But the judge was quick to point out that she had taken no part in the informal deal. "It was an agreement between the prosecutor and the defendant," Collins said. In Allen's case, she said, she simply accepted the dismissal form submitted to her by Deputy Prosecutor Daniel Cavallini. Observers said a uniformed Marine recruiter attended the hearing and gave Allen encouragement while he was doing the push-ups. Allen made it one or two push-ups past 50, they said. Cavallini said he couldn't comment; on Friday afternoon, a spokesman for Prosecutor Carl Brizzi said he was not able to reach Cavallini or his supervisor."We're looking into it," Matthew Symons said, adding that the arrangement appeared odd. The charges stemmed from Allen's April 28 arrest inside Wishard Memorial Hospital's emergency room. After his discharge, he refused to leave his hospital bed and repeatedly told an off-duty sheriff's deputy to arrest him, saying he was homeless, according to a police report. Allen appeared to have suffered injuries in a fight, the report said. In July, Allen missed a court hearing, and the judge issued a warrant; Allen turned himself in late Thursday, court records show. The jail still was processing his release Friday evening. Collins says she's seen strange arrangements in her courtroom, but never push-ups. "It wasn't anything this court would require anybody to do."
Saturday, October 06, 2007
Strip Search Hoax To Cost McDonald's $6.1 Million
A jury awarded $6.1 million today to a woman who said she was forced to strip in a McDonald's back office after someone called the restaurant posing as a police officer. Louise Ogborn, 21, had sued McDonald's Corp., claiming the fast-food giant failed to warn her and other employees about the caller who already struck other McDonald's stores and other fast-food restaurants across the country.Ogborn had been seeking $200 million. McDonald's Corp. attorneys argued the company was not responsible and contended the company was being sued because of its deep pockets. Ogborn accused the company of negligence leading up to the events in April 2004, when she was detained for 3 1/2 hours.
Louise OgbornIn the lawsuit, she said someone called the restaurant in Mount Washington impersonating a police officer and gave a description of a young, female employee, accusing her of stealing from a customer. The caller demanded the woman be strip searched. Ogborn was forced to undress, endure a strip search, and to perform sexual acts, the lawsuit said. The events were captured on surveillance video, which was shown to jurors during the trial.A former assistant manager, Donna Summers, was placed on probation for a misdemeanor conviction in relation to the incident. Her former fiance, Walter Nix Jr., is serving five years in prison for sexually abusing Ogborn during the 3 1/2 -hour search. A Florida man, David Stewart, was charged with making the hoax phone call but acquitted last summer. Police have said the calls stopped after Stewart's arrest.
Friday, October 05, 2007
Powell Celebrates Youth Center In Minneapolis
Retired General Colin Powell made a special visit to the Twin Cities. Powell visited South Minneapolis to mark the official grand opening of the Colin Powell Youth Leadership Center.The program is a partnership between urban ventures and Cristo Rey Jesuit High School. The Colin Powell Center will house youth organizations, the arts and after school programs.
Thursday, October 04, 2007
Canada Has 'Moral' Duty To Stay In Afghanistan
Canadian troops will likely remain in Afghanistan beyond February, 2009, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Wednesday, characterizing the mission as a "moral responsibility" to the Afghan people, Canada's international allies and its own soldiers. Harper also gave his strongest suggestion to date that he would be willing to fight an election over the continuation of the mission, as he served notice to his political opposition, in particular Liberal Leader Stephane Dion, not to engage in "unwise politics" or "uninformed political sentiment" in the upcoming parliamentary debate on the future of the mission in Afghanistan. "We believe we have a moral responsibility," Harper said in a rare formal news conference. "It's not a matter of just playing to the polls." The prime minister emphasized that fulfilling Canada's international obligations, both to the people it is trying to help in Afghanistan as well as its international partners in NATO, trumps domestic political considerations. But, he conceded: "We've also communicated clearly to our allies that future deployment will be dependent on getting that parliamentary support." Harper said his government's upcoming speech from the throne will make the mission one of its main priorities.Canada's national security interests are inherently tied to the fate of the Afghan people in Kandahar, and Canada can't withdraw its troops until the war-torn country can defend itself without international help. "Can I say that we're ready to leave cold turkey in February, 2009? I think it's hard to imagine," Harper said. The Liberals and Bloc Quebecois are essentially calling for an end to combat operations in southern Afghanistan by February 2009, while the NDP wants the troops brought home immediately. Canada currently has about 2,500 troops in Afghanistan as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force. "Anything we put forward in a speech from the throne in a confidence vote are things that we are prepared to run on [in an election] and prepared to defend in front of the Canadian population," Harper said. "I believe strongly that anyone who wants to possess the office of prime minister has to be prepared to make those kinds of decisions based on the long-term best interests of the country," he added. "Hopefully this debate won't simply be: Will we stay after 2009 or do we pull out after 2009? But the debate will be: What are the options in terms of staying, in terms of leaving or of doing some things and not others? What are the options? What are the upsides or the downsides? And what are the costs and what are the demands on the military?" Harper said the government also owes a debt to the families of fallen soldiers, which have told him not to withdraw the troops before the job is done. "We have the responsibility to honour and respect their sacrifices," he said.
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
Smoker Fined For Dropping Cigarette Butt Down Drain
A Mother-of-two has spoken of her anger after being hit with a £40 on-the-spot fine for dropping her cigarette down a drain. Wendy Chapman, who was working in Ilkeston when she was caught, believes Erewash Borough Council was heavy-handed with its punishment. But the authority says it has a zero tolerance attitude to dropping cigarettes and that the stub could have damaged the drain. The fine could increase to £75 if it is not paid before Friday, October 12. Mrs Chapman, 35, said she would have challenged the fine in court but she was not in a financial position to do so. She said: "Obviously, with two children I can't afford to see the fine increase. Unless it gets revoked, I'll have to pay it. "If my money situation had been different, I would have waited for my case to be heard by magistrates." The barmaid had been working at the Sir John Warren pub in Ilkeston Market Place on Friday when she was caught dropping the cigarette by an Erewash Borough Council litter warden. Mrs Chapman said: "I was standing outside the pub having a smoke during my afternoon break when the street warden saw me drop it in the drain."I would have thought he could have given me a warning, but he insisted that I would have to be fined. "I don't think putting it down a drain should have caused any problems. It's better than setting a bin on fire." Mrs Chapman said the decision was ironic because she recycled and had always taught her children, Zach, 16, and Dale, 12, to put their rubbish in a bin. She said: "I would never let them drop trash in the street. They've always been told to carry it to the nearest bin." Phillip Wright, acting director of neighbourhood services at Erewash Borough Council, said the authority would not tolerate environmental crime. He said: "People may think that because they have always thrown their cigarette ends in a drain, there is nothing wrong. "Cigarette ends are not biodegradable and should be stubbed out and then disposed of properly in a bin, rather than contaminating our drains." A spokesman for Derby City Council's waste management department said the fine would most probably have been the same had a similar offence been committed in the city. He said: "That's the punishment if the offence of littering is found to have been committed. "Cigarette littering is a growing problem, which we and Erewash Borough Council are challenged to deal with. "It's a question of proportionality. Litter wardens have to use some judgement when deciding whether to issue on-the-spot fines."
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Police Search For U Of M Library Assaulter
Campus police are searching for a man after he assaulted a woman in the library on Monday. At 1:15 p.m. the female victim walked into Wilson Library on the West Bank of the University of Minnesota campus. The male suspect followed her into the building and eventually offered to assist her with finding materials in the library. The suspect then lead the victim to a remote staircase where he grabbed onto her and held her against her will. The victim yelled and fought back until witnesses responded to the disturbance.The suspect then let go of her and ran out of the building while being chase by witnesses. The suspect was last observed running in the area of the Riverside Plaza apartment complex near Cedar Avenue and Riverside Avenue. The suspect is described as a white male; around 20 to 30-years-old, 5-foot-10-inches with a stocky build and light blonde hair with a receding hairline. He was wearing a light colored t-shirt, baggy blue jeans, a dark colored leather jacket with light stripes on the sleeves and white shoes with green soles.
Monday, October 01, 2007
More Than 20 Al-Qaida Fighters Killed Near Baghdad
The military says U.S. aircraft has killed more than 20 al-Qaida fighters who opened fire on an American air patrol northwest of Baghdad. The firefight between the U.S. aircraft and the insurgent fighters occurred yesterday about 17 miles northwest of Baghdad.The military did not say what kind of aircraft were involved but the fact that the fighters opened fire suggests they were low-flying Apache helicopters. The military says four vehicles were destroyed and no Iraqi civilians or U.S. soldiers were killed or wounded.