News Day: Court: Franken won, and not one of Coleman’s claims was legit / Cops and fairy tales / Mpls Somali news / more

Franken won, and not one of Coleman’s claims was legit In a 68-page opinion (PDF), the three-judge recount court knocked down every single one of Coleman’s claims, said Franken should be seated as Senator, and gave a resounding vote of confidence to the Minnesota election system.

The overwhelming weight of the evidence indicates that the November 4, 2008 election was conducted fairly, impartially, and accurately. …

After seven weeks of trial, the factual record is devoid of any allegations of fraud, tampering, or security breaches on Election Day, during the recount process, or during the election contest. …

The citizens of Minnesota should be proud of their election system. Minnesota has one of the highest voter-participation rates in the country. The Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State and election officials throughout Minnesota’s counties and cities are well-trained, fair, and conscientious and performed their duties admirably. Minnesota could not conduct elections without the hard work and diligence of its dedicated professionals and citizen volunteers, and the Court is proud of their service.

Next up? Coleman will appeal. And T-Paw won’t give Al Franken an election certificate.

Legislature faces taxes On the day before tax day, the MN legislature returns to face its own tax dilemmas. For a round-up of cogent analysis of tax proposals and disputes, check out Steve Perry’s T-Word articles in Politics in Minnesota, the the analysis of various revenue options by the Minnesota Budget Project, and bookmark the Minnesota Budget Bites blog, a project of the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits.

Cops and fairy tales Minneapolis police chief Tim Dolan gets major ink in the Strib for his claim that all of the questions raised in the Fong Lee family’s lawsuit are “a fairy tale that’s being told in my view by attorneys for the plaintiffs.” The Strib notes that the only facts not in dispute are that, “A Russian-made Baikal .380-caliber gun was found near Lee’s body. The same gun was stolen from North Side resident Dang Her in 2004.”

Dolan said that Her’s Russian gun was never found. Her said in an affidavit that police notified him that they had found his gun in a snowbank and that it was in police custody. A paperwork mistake, Dolan said, insisting that the gun recovered by police was a Belgian gun. A police officer filed a “corrected” report the day after Fong Lee was shot. The corrected report showed that gun in police custody was the Belgian gun. That, says Dolan, is the truth.

Dolan also dismissed claims by Ron Edwards, Al Flowers and Zachary Metoyer that, just days after the shooting, he had claimed Fong Lee’s fingerprints were found on the gun. “I never told anybody there were fingerprints on that gun,” Dolan said. “That’s a lie. It’s not the first time we’ve had a lie from that direction.”

Somali youth and the FBI Abdi Aynte, a Somali-American journalist now working for BBC, returns to the Minnesota Independent to tell the inside story of the impact of FBI investigation and Somali youth departures on the Minnesota Somali community.

Whether the missing youth radicalized and financed themselves, or whether they have been actively recruited by certain individuals within the community, the negative impact of the story can hardly be overstated.

Last week, FBI agents raided the Minneapolis offices of money transfer business — a key lifeline for millions of Somalis who depend on monthly remittances from loved ones in the diaspora. Though the offices were not closed, the episode was another blow to a community shaken by fear, confusion and uncertainty….

That uncertainty surrounding the subject of the investigation is bedeviling the community. Returning to Somalia for any reason — marriage, traditional medical treatments or a just to visit family — is cause for intense scrutiny.

AP notes that previous FBI investigations of Somali-connected money transfer businesses in Minneapolis “went nowhere.”

Around the world in 90 seconds The Thai army has succeeded in suppressing protests, reports BBC. “Speaking to the BBC from hiding, one protest leader said the retreat was “an honourable decision to save lives” but vowed that the movement would continue.”

President Obama lifted all restrictions on travel and money transfers by Cuban-Americans to Cuba, reports NPR. Legislation to ease travel restrictions for other visitors is pending in Congress. According to the NYT, Obama “is also allowing telecommunications companies to pursue licensing agreements in Cuba,” and the State Department is reviewing all U.S. Cuba policy.

The Taliban, following their own twisted version of law, executed a young couple who had eloped to be married against parental wishes, reports BBC. “The man, 21, and woman, 19, were shot dead on Monday in front of a mosque in the south-western province of Nimroz” in Afghanistan. “[Nimroz] Governor Ghulam Dastageer Azad told the AFP news agency the killings followed a decree by local religious leaders and were an ‘insult to Islam.'”

Headline of the day From BBC: “Chemical makeup of elephants’ tail hairs shows how they compete”

And in other quick headlines:
• John Marty is running for governor
The MN Health Department finds that a giant Thief River Falls dairy poses a public health hazard
MN’s family-owned SarTec company has figured out how to produce bio-diesel for $1.25 to $1.75 per gallon – using everything from restaurant left-overs to pond scum

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