RUKMINI CALLIMACHI, The Associated Press, reports:

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Blockbuster Inc. has agreed to pay about $630,000 to settle claims by Michigan, 46 other states and the District of Columbia that the movie rental chain deceived consumers with its “No Late Fees” campaign.

The agreement, disclosed Tuesday, also requires Dallas-based Blockbuster to make refunds to consumers who claim the campaign misled them into thinking they could keep the video or DVD for as long as they liked.

Many consumers were angry to discover that overdue game and film rentals were automatically converted to a sale on the eighth day after the due date. If they then tried to return it, they were charged a $1.25 restocking fee.

According to the agreement, Blockbuster will have to refund consumers who were either charged the restocking fee or who paid the full price of the movie they rented.

As part of the settlement, Blockbuster will also have to change the way it advertises its no late fees policy, according to Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox.

JUAN A. LOZANO, Associated Press Writer, reports:

HOUSTON Mar 24, 2005 — The truck driver charged in the nation’s deadliest smuggling attempt has been convicted on 38 counts of transporting illegal immigrants.

Tyrone Williams, 34, could be sentenced to life in prison but avoided the death penalty because jurors could not agree on whether he bore direct responsibility for the deaths of 19 people packed into his tractor-trailer in 2003.

“We don’t give the death penalty in this country for an accident,” defense attorney Craig Washington said Wednesday. “Tragedies happen every day. But every tragedy is not a crime.”

PAM EASTON, Associated Press Writer, reports:

TEXAS CITY, Texas Mar 24, 2005 — All but one of the 1,800 or so oil refinery workers have been accounted for after overnight search efforts following the thunderous blast that killed 14 workers and injured more than 100 other people, officials said Thursday.

China View, via Google News, reports:

BEIJING, Mar. 22 (Xinhuanet) — Rubella, a major cause of serious birth defects such as deafness and blindness, also known as congenital rubella syndrome (CRS), has been eliminated from the United States, health officials said Monday.

Christopher Lee and Shankar Vedantam, Washington Post Staff Writers, report:

Ten people were killed and more than a dozen were wounded yesterday by a gunman who opened fire at a high school and a private home on an isolated Indian reservation in northern Minnesota and engaged in a brief gunfight with police before killing himself, the FBI said.

The gunman killed his grandfather and a woman at his house, local officials said. They said he then traveled to the high school in Red Lake, a town of a few thousand on the southern shore of an inland lake, where witnesses said he charged into the school waving his gun and grinning as he shot down students, teachers and a school security guard.

The name of the student was not disclosed by officials, but the Associated Press reported that several students said he was Jeff Weise. It was not immediately clear if he was a student at the school.

“At this time, we do believe the shooter acted alone,” FBI spokesman Paul McCabe said in a telephone interview last night. It was the nation’s deadliest school shooting since two students at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., killed 13 people and wounded 23 others before killing themselves on April 20, 1999.

The shooter entered Red Lake High School, which has about 300 students, in the middle of the afternoon. The security guard, who was at the entrance, was the first person shot, McCabe said.

The New York Post reports:

March 4, 2005 — WAS Hunter S. Thompson’s mysterious death really a suicide?

There are some serious irregularities surrounding the demise of the gonzo author, who was found shot to death in the kitchen of his Woody Creek, Colo., ranch on Feb. 20, and local cops seemed to have done a lackluster job of investigating.

Police reports obtained by the Rocky Mountain News note that cops arriving on the scene heard shots being fired, that Thompson’s son, Juan, was allowed to be alone with the body, and that there was something odd about the gun Thompson supposedly used to kill himself.

Indymedia Colombia reports:

We can scarcely find words; the pain overwhelms us so deeply that all we can
do is weep. In a demonstration of its incredible illegitimacy, the Colombian
state has carried out another massacre that bathes our land in blood.


The army massacred Luis Eduardo Guerra Guerra, 35 years old, leader of the
community and member of the internal council since the beginning of the
process; his partner Bellanira Areiza Guzman, with whom he had just recently
formed a home; his son Deiner Andres Guerra, 11, who had been injured on
August 11, 2004 by a grenade left by the army; Alfonso Bolivar Tuberquia
Graciano, 30, leader of the Mulatos settlement and member of the Peace
Council of the humanitarian zone of Mulatos; his partner, Sandra Milena
Muñoz Pozo, 24; and their children Santiago Tuberquia Muñoz, 2, and Natalia
Andrea Tuberquia Muñoz, 6.

WABC Eyewitness News’ Marcus Solis

(New York - WABC, Feb. 24, 2005) — A four-alarm fire raged inside an electronics warehouse at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Eyewitness News’ Marcus Solis reports.

There were tough conditions for the crews still here working on the fire that reached four alarms this afternoon. More than 140 firefighters and 40 pieces of equipment were on the scene.

The good news: There was only one minor injury reported as of news time, though property damage will be high, no doubt.

At the height of the fire, crews were cutting through fences at the navy yard trying to get to the fire inside the B & H Photo Warehouse. That company shares the 3-story space with another electronics company.

As for the cause, Eyewitness News is told that some type of tool, like a sauldering iron or torch, caught cardboard boxes full of television monitors on fire. That was around 3:30 p.m.

Workers said they were surprised how fast it spread. They tried to put it out with fire extinguishers, but it quickly grew out of control.

The Media Drop reports:

Last night, I had an opportunity to correspond via email with the author of the Radio Free Nepal blog. What I received was some more information about the situation going on in the country, especially regarding the media. Questions and answers below. [Note: any adjustments made in editing the responses are in “[]” brackets]

Additionally, I asked whether there was anything else this blogger wanted to get out there or that we, the community, could do to help. I received one sentence in reply: “What you can do for Nepal is spread words about need [for] democracy in Nepal because USA’s view will make a lot of differences.”


The CTA tattler reports:

Further update: Brian, who originally shared this story with us, emailed me to say that Chicago Police have indeed classified this death as a suicide. So sad. Brian’s account is below:

A CTA Tattler reader posted a comment here last night with an eyewitness account of the suicide at the Loyola Red Line stop that stopped train traffic for almost an hour last night. Thanks to Brian () for reporting the somewhat gruesome details:

The Associated Press reports, via The Globe and Mail, via Slashot:

Seoul — North Korea on Thursday announced publicly for the first time that it has nuclear weapons and rejected moves to restart disarmament talks any time soon, saying it needs the weapons as protection against an increasingly hostile United States.

Photo: Manure on Fire
A huge mound of cow manure smolders at a feedlot near Milford, Nebraska.

The Associated Press reports (via CNN, BoingBoing):

MILFORD, Nebraska (AP) — Urban dwellers who enjoy dining on filet mignon at five-star restaurants would probably just as soon not know about David Dickinson’s dilemma.

Bad for the appetite, you know.

But Dickinson, who makes his living in the cattle business, has an environmental problem on his hands that is vexing state officials: a 2,000-ton pile of burning cow manure.

Photo: Damaged US Submarine

(US) Navy NewsStand reprots:

050127-N-4658L-015 Apra Harbor, Guam (Jan. 27, 2005) – The Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS San Francisco (SSN 711) in dry dock to assess damage sustained after running aground approximately 350 miles south of Guam Jan. 8, 2005. The Navy former dry dock known as “Big Blue” is capable of docking ships that weigh up to 40,000 Long Tons. The Navy certified Big Blue for the one-time docking of San Francisco. San Francisco is the second fast-attack submarine to be attached to the forward-deployed Submarine Squadron Fifteen, home ported on board Naval Base Guam. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Mark Allen Leonesio (RELEASED)

Photo: Train Wreck
Firefighters examine the wreckage from a train derailment in Glendale. Two Metrolink commuter trains derailed killing several people and injuring hundreds of others authorities said. (Associated Press)

Daisy Nguyen, The Associated Press, reports:

GLENDALE (CA) – A commuter train smashed into an SUV driven onto its tracks by a suicidal man early Wednesday, derailed and crashed into another Metrolink train, killing 10 people and injuring about 200, authorities said. Dozens of the injured were reported in critical condition.

The SUV driver changed his mind about suicide and left the vehicle before it was hit, Police Chief Randy Adams said. The man will be charged with homicide, he said. He was identified as Juan Manuel Alvarez, 26, of Compton.

“This whole incident was started by a deranged individual that was suicidal,” the chief told a press conference at the scene of mangled railcars north of downtown Los Angeles.

Reuters reports, via Google News:

BOMBAY (Reuters) - Rescue workers began at daybreak on Wednesday the grisly task of searching through debris from a stampede and fire that killed nearly 300 people at a temple in western India, and police said the toll could rise.

Officials said a short circuit following the stampede may have sparked a fire in roadside stalls as 300,000 people were on an annual pilgrimage to the popular Mandher Devi temple, on a hilltop near Wai, about 160 miles southeast of Bombay.

Scores were crushed to death on the steep and narrow hill path leading to the temple and many bodies were charred, witnesses and officials said.

Many women and children were among the nearly 300 people crushed or burned to death, officials said.

X-Ray of Nail in Skull

David Pescovitz, BoingBoing, writes:

Colorado construction worker Patrick Lawler visited a dentist about a toothache a few days ago. It turned out that a four-inch nail was embedded in Lawler’s skull and he didn’t even realize it. The nail entered his brain through his mouth when a nailgun backfired the week before. After a four hour surgery, Lawler is recovering just fine. From an Associated Press report:

“This is the second one we’ve seen in this hospital where the person was injured by the nail gun and didn’t actually realize the nail had been imbedded in their skull,” neurosurgeon Sean Markey told KUSA-TV in Denver.

NASA News Releases via Slashdot:

NASA scientists using data from the Indonesian earthquake calculated it affected Earth’s rotation, decreased the length of day, slightly changed the planet’s shape, and shifted the North Pole by centimeters. The earthquake that created the huge tsunami also changed the Earth’s rotation.

A Staff Reporter for India Daily writes:

New Delhi is in the middle of a big secret internal debate. On one side the largest democracy of the world is eager to explain to its citizens and to the world about the ongoing contacts with the UFOs and extra-terrestrials. On the other hand there are invisible untold international protocols that prohibit doing anything that may cause worldwide fear and panic.

Reuters reports:

CHICAGO (Reuters) - A 15-year-old Wisconsin girl who received an experimental treatment to become the first person known to survive rabies without a vaccination has been released from hospital, a spokeswoman for the hospital said on Sunday.

Photo: Numbered Arm and Hand of a Tsunami Victim
A tag is placed on around a deceased person’s wrist so the body can be identified among hundreds outside a temple in Thaplamu, nearly 100 km (62 miles) north of the Thai resort island of Phuket on December 29, 2004. Stricken countries on the Indian Ocean worked swiftly on Wednesday to bury thousands of bodies as experts warned disease could kill as many people as the 68,000 already dead from the violent crush of Sunday’s tsunami. REUTERS/Adrees Latif

QuickBird Satellite Image of Sri Lanka After Tsunami Impact
This is a natural color, 60-centimeter (2-foot) high-resolution QuickBird satellite image featuring the southwestern coast of Sri Lanka. Imagery was collected at 10:20 a.m. local time, slightly less than four hours after the 6:28 a.m. (local Sri Lanka time) earthquake and shortly after the moment of tsunami impact.

Photo: Buddhist Monks Searching for Survivors

A group of Buddhist monks and villagers search for the missing along railroad tracks at Telwatte, about 100 kilometers (63 miles) south of Colombo, Sri Lanka, Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2004. The massive tidal waves that slammed into Sri Lanka flung a train off its tracks, leaving many of its 1,000 passengers dead or missing, police said Tuesday, while rescuers uncovered thousands of bodies across the country. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

The Associated Press :
One of the most dramatic illustrations of nature’s force came to light Tuesday when reporters reached the scene of a Sri Lankan train carrying beachgoers that was swept into a marsh by a wall of water Sunday, killing at least 802. Eight rust-colored cars lay in deep pools of water in a ravaged palm grove, torn off wheels and baggage scattered among the twisted rails.

“Is this the fate that we had planned for? My darling, you were the only hope for me,” a young man cried for one of the train victims — his university sweetheart — as Buddhist monks prayed nearby.

Photo: Smallest Baby
Neonatalogist Dr. Jonathan Muraskas places his hand next to Rumaisa Rahman, known to be the smallest baby in the world to survive birth, in this file photo taken three weeks after birth, at Loyola Medical Center in Maywood, Illinois. Rahman weighed 8.6 ounces at birth, about the size of a cellular phone. Reuters/Handout/Oscar Izquierdo

JIM RITTER, The Chicago Sun-Times reports:

No baby as tiny as 8.6 ounces had ever survived before Rumaisa Rahman was born Sept. 19.

Although no bigger than a cell phone, Rumaisa still had some things in her favor, doctors at Loyola University Medical Center explained Tuesday as they introduced her to the media.

Rumaisa spent nearly 26 weeks in the womb before she was delivered by Caesarean section, along with her twin sister. That’s three weeks longer than the minimum needed to survive.

The BBC reports:

Time magazine has given its Person of the Year award to United States President George W Bush.

1938 - Adolf Hitler
1942 - Joseph Stalin

Associated Press reports:

THE HAGUE, Netherlands - Arsonists set fire to a school and attempted to burn down two churches in the Netherlands, the latest in a series of attacks following the murder of a Dutch filmmaker by a suspected Muslim radical, police said Thursday. There were no injuries.

« Previous Page — Next Page »