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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUNDUP: Sale of Vikings stadium bonds delayed

ST. PAUL --  The sale of 468-million dollars in bonds to fund part of the new Vikings stadium has been delayed. Minnesota Management and Budget Commissioner Jim Showalter says in a statement that the sale, which was set to occur on Monday and Tuesday, will not proceed as planned because a petition for a writ of prohibition was filed Friday with the state Attorney General's office. The state is required by federal law to disclose any pending legal actions when bonds are sold. Showalter says it's not yet known if a delay will change the financial parameters of the bond sale. He says once a new pricing date will be announced as soon as it's been determined.

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 It was an active--and in one case--deadly weekend for fires in the state. One man, identified by his family as 30-year-old Christopher Meusburger, died as a result of an early-morning townhome fire in St. Paul on Sunday. In the south central Minnesota town of Holdingford, a couple and their four children were able to escape unharmed when a fire that started in a car in an attached garage spread to the family's home. And in Cottage Grove, dozens of residents had to be evacuated from an apartment after witnesses reported a burning couch. One person was taken to the hospital and several others were treated for smoke inhilation as a result of that fire, which officials are calling suspicous. All three incidents remain under investigation.

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Snow and blowing snow riding into central and southern Minnesota on a clipper system will blanket the region with two to four fresh inches tonight (Mon) and into early tomorrow (Tue) morning. Forecasters with the National Weather Service in Chanhassen say a winter weather advisory has been issued for areas along and south of Interstate 94 from 6 p.m. until 3:00 tomorrow (Tue) afternoon. Winds are expected to range from 25-to-35 miles per hour with 40 mile per hour gusts. Blowing and drifting snow will reduce visibility for drivers.

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The U-S Senate is expected to vote today on proposals extending emergency long-term unemployment insurance. Benefits ran out for more than a million Americans on December 28th--and will end for millions more--including nearly 67,000 Minnesotans--later this year. Senator Al Franken says the situation is dire, as the nation is experiencing the worst long-term unemployment since following the Great Depression. Franken says two bill packages are on the table for today's vote. One would extend the insurance for up to nine months. If that fails, a second proposal calls for a three-month extension.

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The ruler of the United Arab Emirates regrets the treatment of a Minnesotan jailed over a parody video. In an interview with the BBC, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid al-Maktoum said the way his country treated Shezanne Cassim was unfair and a mistake his country would learn from. Cassim was recently released after spending months in a UAE prison when officials declared a mocking 20-minute video posted online as a danger to the state.

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 Metro Transit Police are investigating the death of a pedestrian who was hit by a light rail train in Minneapolis. No passengers were injured, and neither was the operator of the train. The incident is the tenth fatal accident involving a light rail train since 2004.

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A fire in a commercial dumpster is blamed for the evacuation of about 500 people from the AMC Rosedale theater in Roseville Sunday night. Alarms were triggered after smoke reached the hallways and lobby. The sprinkler system put out most of the fire, and after firefighters got the rest of it out they worked on pushing the smoke out of the complex.

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 Advocates of medical marijuana are encouraged by a St.Cloud State survey that shows three-quarters of respondents support legalization. Heather Azzi is political director of Minnesotans for Compassionate Care and says support has been increasing over the years. Azzi says she's confident medical marijuana legislation will pass this season, with 35 authors in the House and five in the Senate. She says the only question is whether Governor Dayton will sign it.

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