The Arizona wildfires, The Wallow fires, started last wednesday and have already burned over 389,000 acres of land. This fire caused the towns of Eagar, Greer, Sunrise and Springerville to evacuate. Officials say that the fire is not at all contained and that winds and dry conditions are to blame. The fire is the second largest wildfire in Arizona history, it is about the size of New York City. It is getting dangerously close to some major power lines and if the fire reaches them officials say that over 400,000 people will lose power. Smoke from the fires is so thick that they6821218.jpeg have disrupted flights in neighboring states.


Last September, Rev. Terry Jones had threatened to burn hundreds of Korans on a “holiday” he named International Burn A Koran Day.” Jones set up a Facebook page about this event and last year by September 7th the page had over 8,663 fans. He eventually was dissuaded by the pleas of various religious leaders and government officials, and included a phone call form Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates. Recently, Jones announced in January that he was going to “put the Koran on trial,” and said he didn’t hear a single complaint. On March 20th of this year, he dressed up in a judicial robe and ordered a copy of the Koran to be torched in a portable fire pit. Jones has considered the possibility that burning the Koran might ignite a violent response in memory of the 30-person Christian congregation at Dove World Outreach Center on friday when a mob, furious by the burning of the Koran, attacked a U.N compound in Mazar-e Sharif, and killed seven U.N. employees. Recent related protests have left nine dead and more than 90 people injured. He realized that innocent people might get killed, and has said that the church also debated whether to shred the book, shoot it or dunk it in water instead of burning it. Initially there was little talk about the burning in the U.S., death threats have been pouring in, and as of last monday, the FBI informed him that a $2.4 million bounty had been placed on his head in Pakistan. Jones said that the church has received over $20,000 in donations since this August, along with letters of encouragement from all over the world. Jones said he is trying to sell his property and move, because he knows that “the Gainesville area would be more than happy to get rid of us.”

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Flooding of the Mississippi River has left parts of Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Arkansas underwater. The flood was mostly caused by heavy, frequent rains. Connecting rivers to the Mississippi now have no outlet and are causing more flooding, and threatening more land. Currently 130,000+ acres of farmland are drowned and could cost more than $500 million. The flooding is slowly retreating but moving further down south to Louisiana. There are predicted three-million more acres to be flooded. With a large amount of forests covered by water even animals are retreating to higher ground. Most towns are left with an average of 3.5 feet of water invading their streets, causing major damage to homes and buildings. Over half of the affected houses did not have flood insurance, and the average price to repair a house is $68,000. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are working hard at trying to fix the problem, while also preparing and alerting people of future flooding and dangers.

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John Paul II was the Pope of Vatican City for almost 27 years in the Roman Catholic Church. He lived from May 18, 1920 to April 2, 2005. John Paul II was one of the most influential leaders of the 20th century. He was known for many things including ending communism, improved the Catholic Church, and traveled to many places in his career. Recently on May 1, he is finally becoming beatified or recognized as a saint. Beatification means that the Pope is referred to as blessed. In normal ways of the beatification, to become a saint, it has to be at least 50 years after their death but he was to become a saint sooner because of the current Pope Benedict XVI. This event is very special so there are many Roman pilgrims coming from all over to attend. There are special events taking place with street banners, pictures and its all over the newspapers in Rome. John Paul II is now remembered for teaching the life of Christianity and being one of Rome's greatest Popes.


On April 29, 2011 Prince William, Duke of Cambridge married Catherine Middleton. This was a world-wide event. 1/3 of the world, two million people, watched the wedding live on television. One million people were out on the streets, and 1,900 people were in the Westminster Abbey. The two have known each other for 9 years. They have been together as a couple for seven years, and living together for five years. They made the wedding unique by saying "I will" instead of the traditional words "I do", also Prince William will not wear a wedding ring. During the ceremony it took Prince William nine seconds to put the ring on Catherine's finger. There was 186 horses used in the royal wedding. In the Church of England it is forbidden to kiss the bride. Their honeymoon location remains a secret so they can avoid publicity. Kate is the oldest royal bride to get married.

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On April 29,2011 tornadoes hit six states, but out of all of them Tuscaloosa, Alabama got hit the worst with at least 36 people dead. Doctors treated hundreds of people with injuries. 326 to 340 are dead, and hundreds are missing. People have died and we can only guess the final because the number is still growing with hundreds missing. According to The Weather Service,there could have been another tornado on the ground for 200 miles that started at Mississippi and went ,through Alabama. Weather experts say some of the tornadoes had hard winds in excess of 200 miles per hour.
The Fujita scale starts at F0 to F6, and the tornadoes that hit these places were F5s. President Obama visited areas on Friday and told reporters it was the worst damage he had ever seen. He also signed the disaster declaration for Alabama,Tennessee, Mississippi, and parts of Georgia.
This is one woman's story:
"Reba Self frantically searched for her mother after a tornado pummelled their home in Ringgold, Georgia".

"I'm screaming for her, 'Answer me, Mom -- please, Mom, answer me.' I didn't hear anything. It turns out she had gotten out of the house and walked around to the basement door, and she asked me if I was OK."
"I'm laughing at her because she's in the house with a broom, sweeping. I told her, 'Mom, the house is gone, you can put the broom down,'" Self said."




On Monday, President Obama Addressed the nation in a speech, about the problems in Libya. To summarize the problem in Libya, Moammar Gadhafi is killing his own people due to his effort to keep himself in power. Obama's speech, talked about to what extent the united States would be involved in this uprising. He talked about the middle eastern countries that are involved in helping the Libyan people. He also talked about how one of the countries was taking over most of the operation. For example, the "no fly zone", and protecting the Libyan people themselves. Obama really wants the American People to know that the Lybian fight is not something that he wants to focus on with the larger problems we have here at home. In his speech he tells us that other countries in that part of the world are doing their part to help take care of the Libyan people. This is to help reassure the idea that America is not the worlds police, and we won't and shouldn't become involved in everything.
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On March 11 at 2:49 pm an earthquake with a magnitude of 8.9 was set off the coast of Japan. This caused hundreds of aftershocks, many over a magnitude of 6, and a tsunami that reached up to 10 meters in height. This caused devastation throughout Japan. 5 days after the tsunami and quake a city called Sendai reported that 178 were killed, with 584 missing. Police also said 947 people were injured. They were not able and still might not be able to get help because the roads are so bad. There was also 21,000 people killed or have gone missing. Another problem that Japan is having has to do with the power plants that they rely on for there power. One power plant had to push back people 2 miles away from the power plant. Not because it was leaking radiation but because the core remains very hot. One power plant may have to release slightly radiated vapor to reduce the pressure. Power plants are trouble keeping reactors cooled because the quake knocked out a cooling tank.
After more than 10 days in makeshift evacuation centers, the victims of the tsunami and earthquake got their first bath. Over 2,000 people went to bathe. The tsunami and quake left hundreds of thousands of people homeless. Right now places that were far away from the impact zone are experiencing shortages. There are long waits at supermarkets, empty shelves and closed businesses. This shows that the tsunami didn’t just affect the people that had gotten hit. It affected the whole island. We are helping with search and rescue missions in Japan. We are sending in food, water and any other supplies that will help.


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As of Sunday, large demonstrations by pro-Moammar Gadhafi supporters are insisting that the government has recovered many key Libyan cities. Witness accounts on the other hand claim that the opposition is still in control of many of these important cities. Those in opposition of Gadhafi’s 42-year rule are continuing to fight the heavily armed Libyan government. The rebels are fighting the government with machine guns and, tragically, sticks to oppose the Military’s tanks and heavy artillery weapons. Currently, it is unclear how much support the 62-year old Gadhafi actually has. Sinc
e the up-rising began on February 15, the government has been seen forcibly drumming up crowds and dragging people into them to show their support to Gadhafi, while keeping the anti-Gadhafi protestors off the streets. One reporter in the L
ibyan Capitol, Tripoli said that Gadhafi appeared to be “building up expectations,” this means that he is trying to make the impression that the Libyan government is succeeding in stopping the rebellion.

Link to full article: __
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On January 8, 2011 at 10:10am, U.S. Representative from Arizona, Gabrielle Giffords, was holding a meeting called “Congress on Your Corner”, located at the Safeway supermarket. The Safeway supermarket was in Casas Adobes, an unincorporated area north of Tucson, Arizona. Gabrielle set up a table outside the store and there were about 20 to 30 people gathered around her when the gunman drew his pistol and shot her in the head. After this, he proceeded to fire openly at other members of the crowd. A nearby store employee said he heard “15 to 20 gunshots”. After the gunman’s 9mm Glock model 19 semi-automatic pistol ran out of ammunition in the first magazine, the gunman stopped to reload. While doing this, he dropped the loaded magazine to the sidewalk where unwounded bystander Patricia Maisch grabbed it. Then, another bystander hit the assailant in the back of the head with a folding chair and 74-year-old retired colonel Bill Badger, who had been shot, tackled him to the ground.
Daniel Hernández Jr., sho is credited with saving Giffords’ life, applied pressure to the gunshot wound on her forehead, and made sure she did not choke on her own blood.
Five people died at the Safemart and others were wounded but Gabrielle Giffords was reported to be the target of the attack. At the beginning, some news organizations initially reported that she had been killed however she did in fact survive.
She was taken to the University Medical Center conscious but in critical condition. When she got there she underwent major emergency surgery where bone fragments and a small amount of necrotic brain tissue was removed. Fortunately, her prognosis for maintaining function is over 50 percent





Images from NY Times and CNN

Midterm election, what does it mean?

After the midterm elections on Tuesday, the Democrats lost control of the US House of Representatives but they maintained control of the US Senate. Many Republicans or Conservatives are very concerned about the federal deficit. They promise to make it a big focus for them. Most conservatives in the US seem to like some of Obama’s Health Care Bill. The republicans promise to work to eliminate this law or at least drastically change it. It seems likely that they will not be able to eliminate the law because Democrats the senate and the Administration. Current minority leader of the House of Representatives, John Boehner said that he believes that the historic change of leadership was a loud message from the voters wanting a change of direction. From the looks of it Obama and the Democrats may have to compromise more if they want to get things done in Washington, but then again the Republicans will have to compromise also.


Comics from here

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On August 5, a mine in Copiaco, Chile collapsed leaving 33 miners 2,300 feet below the Earth's surface. For 17 days they survived with almost no water and only a teaspoon of tuna each. Then on August 22, a drill finally broke through and the miners finally looked forward to being above ground again. Just on October 13 did the Chilean miners get to see above ground again, which adds up to 69 days spent in the underground mine. One by one, as the Chilean miners were pulled up to the surface in the Pheonix capsule, the crowd at Camp Hope cheered, and alarms rang. But not until the last miner reached the surface, did everyone breathe a sigh of relief, that each and every one was safe once again.