10 brightest ideas of the week: March 7, 2010 

1. Gang busted

Violent group in SF’s Bayview crippled by indictments

The details: Six of 10 alleged San Francisco gang members named last month in a grand jury indictment were arraigned on multiple charges in connection with multiple fatal shootings and robberies in the Bayview district since 2006. Eight of the suspects are already in custody. The members of the BNT gang and their associates were connected with three murders and other crimes. The District Attorney’s Office said the gang has been implicated in dozens of violent crimes in San Francisco over the past several years.

2. Terror aftermath

UAE tightens passport control

The details: The United Arab Emirates tightened security checks of Western passports after it said a Hamas commander, Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, was allegedly murdered by an Israeli assassination team that entered the country carrying European and Australian passports. One German, three Australian, four French, six Irish and 12 British passports were used by 26 named suspects, according to the Dubai police, who announced that the suspects fled the UAE on flights to Europe and Asia. Israel has refused to confirm or deny the involvement of its Mossad spy agency.

3. Reward system

Idaho wants to offer gifted high school students scholarships

The details: For those students who are gifted with a brilliant mind and who ace high school classes the way Tim Lincecum fires a fastball, Idaho has a special honor for you: a scholarship. Lawmakers in that state have proposed giving scholarships to students who enroll in college early. Eight other states are part of a program that allows high school sophomores to graduate early if they pass a series of tests.

4. Net results

Woeful basketball team offers incentive to attract fans

The details: The New Jersey Nets are attempting to make NBA history — for the fewest wins in a season. So in order to attract fans, the team has come up with a promotion meant to lessen the stress this time of year; the team is offering fans a free income tax return to New Jersey residents 18 years and older at a home game this week.

5. First female chief

Mohegan tribe breaks 300-year record of men in charge

The details: The Mohegan Tribe — whose Mohegan Sun casino in southeast Connecticut is one of the world’s largest gaming and hotel facilities and employs nearly 10,000 people — selected their first female tribal chief in almost 300 years. Lynn Malerba, who will be inducted in August, is the Mohegans’ first female chief since 1723. Her lifetime appointment comes as the Mohegan Tribe is hoping to open another casino in western Massachusetts, and as tribes throughout the nation look to the Mohegans and their neighbors — the Mashantucket Pequots — as the gold standard for successful gaming operations.

6. Life for shuttle

Texas senator seeks space program extension

The details: Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, proposed a bill to extend the space shuttle program for two years beyond its planned 2010 retirement. The Human Space Flight Capability Assurance and Enhancement Act calls for spending an additional $3.4 billion between 2010 and 2012 to keep the space shuttle flying. It would require NASA to spread out its four remaining shuttle missions, now slated to wrap up by October, and potentially add additional flights. The bill would also require the space agency to study options for a new launcher that could be ready to deliver U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the end of 2013 and beyond low Earth orbit by the end of 2018.

7. Rounding ’em up

Pakistan police arrest another Afghan Taliban leader

The details: The Pakistani intelligence community is cracking down on the Afghan Taliban, with leader Agha Jan Mohtasim the latest Taliban arrest in a country that’s long been a safe haven for the group. Mohtasim, who is a son-in-law of warlord Mullah Muhammad Omar, was captured Thursday when a tip-off directed agencies to a house in the southern Pakistan city of Karachi. The raid there also brought in two of Mohtasim’s accomplices.

8. No more metal

New type of medical screw dissolves in the body

The details: Screws used by doctors to hold broken bones together can set off airport detectors and leave holes in bones, but this could soon be a pain of the past. A new breed of screw — made from a polymer and mineral composite — dissolves harmlessly in the body, eliminating the need for another surgery to remove the screws. The material also interacts with tissue to promote bone growth, filling in the holes that surgical screws leave.

9. Sony comeback?

Firm set to launch high-tech products to rival Apple lineup

The details: Sony has the worldwide brand name, but the company has yet to make a dent when it comes to selling gadgets in today’s technology-heavy world. According to a Wall Street Journal report, Sony is working on a lineup of new handheld products that would include a gaming smartphone and a portable device that brings together netbook, e-reader and PlayStation Portable functionality. All of this is in an effort to slice into the dominance of Apple.

10. Wish granted

Teen cancer patient meets ‘Ghost Adventure’ cast

The details: When Fairfield teenager and paranormal enthusiast Tashia was in the hospital receiving treatment for acute myelogenous leukemia, she and her family had a standing date to watch the Travel Channel’s “Ghost Adventure” every week. So when she was asked by the charity Kids Wish Network to name her dream, Tashia didn’t have to think hard for an answer: She wanted to meet the cast. She accompanied cast members while they were filming an episode on the reportedly haunted Navy aircraft carrier, the USS Hornet, docked in Alameda.

Bright light of the week


Helen Waukazoo

What: California first lady Maria Shriver visited San Francisco’s Mission district Wednesday to kick off Women’s History Month by honoring Friendship House CEO Helen Waukazoo with a Minerva Award. Waukazoo, a Navajo, runs the 80-bed addiction rehabilitation facility that primarily treats American Indians. She started working there as a secretary.

Why: Friendship House began in the Western Addition as a drop-in program. Under Waukazoo’s leadership, it opened a new four-story facility on Julian Street in the Mission district in 2005. The facility uses American Indian healing practices, including a sweat lodge, as part of the addiction recovery process.

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Staff Report

Staff Report

A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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