Thursday, November 13, 2008

News In Brief

University of Illinois' Chief Illiniwek to Dance Again

Students at the University of Illinois plan to revive controversial retired mascot Chief Illiniwek Saturday after the school's football team plays Ohio State.

A group called Students for Chief Illiniwek has rented an on-campus hall for a performance for students and the public in an event not sponsored by the university, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Last year, the university retired performances of the chief, leading the NCAA to lift sanctions that had barred Illinois from hosting postseason sports since 2005.

The NCAA had deemed Illiniwek - portrayed since 1926 by buckskin-clad students who danced at home football and basketball games and other athletic events - an offensive use of American Indian imagery.

The student group had to create a replica of Illiniwek's costume because the university locked up the original, the Tribune said. Last year, a group of former chiefs held tryouts for a new Illiniwek, choosing then-junior Logan Ponce.

"Chief Illiniwek is a big priority," Roberto Martell, a 20-year-old junior and president of Students for Chief Illiniwek, told the Tribune. "It inspired me to be a complete man."

Victims of Post-Sept. 11 Plane Crash Remembered

Victims of the deadly Flight 587 crash about two months after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks are being remembered at a New York City ceremony on the seventh anniversary of the tragedy.

The American Airlines flight crashed in a quiet Queens neighborhood on Nov. 12, 2001, after taking off from Kennedy International Airport bound for the Dominican Republic. The crash killed all 260 people on board and five people on the ground.

The National Transportation Safety Board determined that the tail of the Airbus A300 had fallen off, and blamed pilot error, inadequate pilot training and overly sensitive rudder controls. The disaster jarred a city still fearful after the terrorist attacks two months earlier. The loss was also felt heavily in the Dominican Republic.

Report: Federal Credit Crisis at $5 Trillion and Climbing

The latest proposal by Democratic lawmakers to aid ailing automakers includes $25 billion in emergency loans, but that practically amounts to spare change compared to the federal government's total tab for the continuing credit crisis, Forbes reports. The magazine, citing the research firm CreditSights, said the federal liability so far is at $5 trillion - and it's still rising.

The total is the cumulative price tag of the various government bailouts, loans and assistance packages intended to shore up the financial industry and revive the flagging economy. It includes efforts spearheaded by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Sheila Bair.

The report lays most of the cost at the feet of the Federal Reserve for lending $1 trillion in short-term loans to primary lenders since March and issuing an additional $1.8 trillion in short-term loans since January through another initiative. Some of the money already has been paid back, Forbes reports.

The emerging crisis prompted the federal government this fall to secure bailout packages for several major financial companies - including Bear Stearns and AIG - to prevent them from failing.

Congress, meanwhile, approved a $700 billion bailout package aimed at providing relief to financial institutions, though Paulson said Wednesday that the administration had decided against using the money to purchase distressed mortgage assess from Wall Street firms. Instead, the government intends to provide money directly to struggling financial firms.

Click here for more on the story from Forbes.

Elderly Woman Attacked by Gay Marriage Protesters

An elderly woman bearing a cross who attended a gay marriage protest to voice her support of the California ban was attacked by demonstrators and may now press charges.

Carrying a large, Styrofoam cross, 69-year-old Phyllis Burgess showed up at a rally last Friday against Proposition 8, the ban on same-sex marriage that was passed on Election Day in California. She was there to show her belief in traditional marriage, she said.

Within minutes, however, angry protesters swarmed around the Palm Springs resident, yanked the cross from her hands and trampled on it. The incident was videotaped and posted on YouTube.

Now, Burgess says she might press assault charges, according to The Desert Sun.

"I guess I didn't see the gravity of the whole thing and how it was being portrayed to the public," Burgess told the paper. "People are incensed. They seem to want some kind of justice."

Palm Springs police have made no arrests yet, but said they spent time Sunday trying to convince Burgess to file charges against some of the demonstrators.


Chicago Tribune, FOX News New York, Forbes, CreditSights, Desert Sun

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