February 15, 2011
Inspectors find Indiana tobacco sales to minors decline
February 15, 2011, last update: 2/15 @ 12:16 am
A statewide inspection program found the sale of tobacco products to minors hit an all-time low last year.
A partnership called the Tobacco Retailer Inspection Program said Monday that sales of tobacco products to teen-agers working with the program occurred in less than 4 percent of more than 8,400 inspections. The program is partnership between the Indiana Excise Police and the Indiana Prevention Resource Center at Indiana University in Bloomington.
In Indiana it is illegal for a clerk or a retail establishment to sell tobacco products to anyone under the age of 18.
When inspections began in 2000, they found 40 percent of retailers sold tobacco to minors. Sales have declined every year but one since then.
Jigme Norbu, nephew of Dalai Lama, killed along Florida highway
February 15, 2011, last update: 2/15 @ 7:46 am
PALM COAST, Fla. -- The Dalai Lama's nephew was killed Monday along a Florida highway during one of his long treks to bring awareness to the Tibetan struggle for independence from China, officials said.
Jigme K. Norbu, 45, of Bloomington, was hit by an SUV around 7:30 p.m. on State Road A1A along the state's eastern coast, the Florida Highway Patrol reported. Police released few other details.
According to www.ambassadorsforworldpeace.org, Norbu was on a Valentine's Day "Walk for Tibet" some 300 miles from St. Augustine south to West Palm Beach. Norbu, a Bloomington businessman, was the son of the Dalai Lama's late brother, Taktser Rinpoche, and has done similar walks several times, including one of 900 miles in 2009 from Indiana to New York. According to the web site, Norbu had traveled from Bloomington to Florida on Sunday in preparation for the walk, which began Monday.
That walk marked the 50th anniversary of the failed Tibetan rebellion against Chinese rule that resulted in the exile of his uncle, who is Tibet's top spiritual leader.
Pierre Tristam, editor of www.flaglerlive.com, a community nonprofit news service that covers Flagler County, was on his way to a restaurant to interview Norbu and some of his companions about the walk when he noticed police lights on the highway close by.
He told The Associated Press he went to the scene to see what had happened and when he realized it was Norbu who had been killed, "I was floored."
He said Norbu was walking along the white line on the side of the dark highway when he was hit. The highway isn't lit, and Tristam didn't think the moon was out. In September, a dishwasher going home from the same restaurant where Norbu was headed was struck and killed on his bicycle along the highway, Tristam said.
Norbu was killed about 25 miles south of St. Augustine, where he had begun his journey with several others.
The SUV was driven by 31-year-old Keith R. O'Dell of Palm Coast, who had his two young children with him, according to the Highway Patrol's report. They were not injured. O'Dell was not charged.
Norbu's late father was a high lama who was abbot of a monastery when the Chinese invaded. The brothers fled into exile following the 1959 uprising.
Rinpoche, who died in September 2008 at 86, was a professor of Tibetan studies at Indiana University in Bloomington while serving as the Dalai Lama's U.S. representative. The Dalai Lama has visited Bloomington several times. The city about 50 miles southwest of Indianapolis is home to the Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center and Kumbum Chamtse Ling Temple.
China claims Tibet as part of its territory, but many Tibetans say Chinese rule deprives them of religious freedom. Beijing accuses the Dalai Lama of pushing for Tibetan autonomy and fomenting anti-Chinese protests.