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February 28, 2007

New policy starts debate

The Metropolitan Airport Commission held an intense debate about religion and alcohol Tuesday in Bloomington.

The MAC listened to testimonies that would impose harsher penalties for taxi drivers who refused to give service due to religious or other reasons. Some staff of the MAC insist that harsher practices are necessary to provide reliable service at the airport.

Since January of 2002, Minneapolis-St.Paul International Airport Director Steve Wareham reported that there were a total of 5, 222 documented refusals of customers. Around 100 people are denied service at the airport every month, the Star Tribune reported. The MAC is considering extensive punishments for such drivers.

The debate mainly involved airport taxicab drivers of Somali descent and their refusal to drive people who have been drinking or have alcohol. The MAC received a “fatwa� (or a religious edict) last year from the Minnesota Chapter of the Muslim American Society, stating the religion of Islam prohibits taxi drivers from carrying passengers with alcohol. The edict states alcohol is prohibited because “it involves cooperating in sin according to Islam.�

About three-fourths of the 900 total cab drivers are Somali, many of them being Muslim.

Responding to the possible penalties, one driver said, “It’s against the law to discriminate against someone because of his belief. I urge you guys to look at this issue very seriously, because you are deciding the fate of 600 drivers and their families, their livelihood.�

Under the current system, drivers may refuse service to people who are drunk or appear dangerous. However, airport officials would like to see drivers who refuse service to have stricter penalties should they refuse passengers for any other reason.

The current penalty for a driver is being sent to the back of the taxi line. The Pioneer Press reported that translates to a three or four hour wait for the next customer.

Under the new policy, a first offense would result in a driver being suspended for 30 days. For a second refusal, a driver’s airport license would be revoked for two years, the Pioneer Press reported.

Also present during the debate was a group of blind Minnesotans, speaking about being denied rides from some taxis. Some Somali drivers consider the saliva of dogs unclean and therefore refuse to have dogs in the cabs, which sparked resentment from others.

A local Twins Cities resident, who spoke before the three-member panel of airport commissioners said, “the cabdrivers have a right to their religious view, but in this country, are they Americans or are they Muslims? Alcohol is a part of American society, and if they don’t like that, then they can find another job.�

The new policy will be voted on in April, and if passed, will take effect starting May 11.

February 27, 2007

Cheney OK; blast kills up to 23

A suicide bombing at the main U.S. military base in Afghanistan Tuesday has left up to 23 people dead and another 20 people wounded.

Vice President Dick Cheney was present during the bombing, but was not harmed in any way. The Taliban claimed responsible for the bombing and boldly said that Cheney had been the target of the attack.

At least one U.S. soldier, an American contractor and a South Korean soldier were among those who died. According to MSNBC.com, Afghan President Hamid Karzai reported that 23 people had been killed, but the U.S. military only had the toll at nine. The AP reported that 12 bodies were seen being carried off by locals. More details are expected to be released later.

Cheney’s spokesperson said he was fine and later met with President Karzai in Kabul after the attack, talking about the resurgence of terrorism in Afghanistan, as well as focusing talks on stopping it in Pakistan.

According to Cheney himself, he was in his room at the U.S. base when “at 10 a.m., I heard a loud boom.� Cheney was taken to a bomb shelter and later returned to his room after the attack.

Maj. William Mitchell believes the attack didn’t appear to be threat to Cheney. However, a Taliban spokesperson told the AP through an interview that the Taliban knew Cheney was inside the base and “the attacker was trying to reach him.� Other officials are labelling the attack on Cheney as being “farfetched,� because Cheney was only in Afghanistan due to a cancelled meeting with Karzai on Monday.

Security at the base is high. Security measures were in place and the killer never had access to getting inside the actual base, Lt. Col. James Bonner said. Bonner also added that when the bomber realized he could not penetrate the base, he unleashed the bomb on the local population.

February 26, 2007

Oscar night

There were a wide range of winners on the 79th Academy Awards night in Hollywood Sunday.

Martin Scorsese, who had been nominated for best director five previous times, won his first Oscar for “The Departed.� “The Departed� also took home the Oscar for best picture, marking the first film of Scorsese’s to take home that honor as well.

Helen Mirren won best actress for her role in “The Queen,� playing British monarch Elizabeth II. Forest Whitaker took home the Oscar for best actor for his role in “The Last King of Scotland.�

Jennifer Hudson, a former “American Idol� finalist, won the Oscar for best-supporting actress. Hudson played a soul singer in the popular film “Dreamgirls.� Alan Arkin won best-supporting actor for his work in “Little Miss Sunshine.�

“The Departed� took home the most Oscars with four overall. The other two victories came in film editing and adapted screenplay.

“An Inconvenient Truth,� won the best documentary Oscar. The documentary is a chronicle of former Vice President Al Gore’s campaign to educate the world about global warming. Gore and the global warming issue were highlighted numerous times throughout the night, with Gore speaking on the issue.

“Happy Feet� took home the best feature-length animation film, edging out “Cars.�

Diversity was a key ingredient this year at the Oscars. “The 79th annual Oscars feature their most ethnically varied line-up ever, with stars and stories that reflect the growing multiculturalism taking root around the globe,� MSNBC.com reported.

Host Ellen DeGeneres jokingly said, “Spain is in the house. Japan is representing. I think I see a few Americans as well; of course I’m talking about the seat fillers. No one can fill a seat like an American.�

For more complete Oscar coverage, visit CNN.com or MSNBC.com, as well as any news affiliate.

Man killed at local bar

A man was shot and killed early Monday morning at a Minneapolis bar.

An off-duty police officer working security at the 4th Street Saloon at 328 W. Broadway in north Minneapolis reported that shots had been fired inside the bar just before 2 a.m., a Minneapolis police report said.

One of the shots fired hit the victim in the chest, whose name has not been released.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported that the off-duty officer found the man dead and did not mention anything about hearing shots.

One 21-year-old man was taken into custody, and others are being questioned. Police are investigating and looking for witnesses.

February 23, 2007

Snow on the way

A huge snowstorm is expected to hit Minnesota this weekend.

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for numerous parts of Minnesota (including the Twin Cities) which will last from 6 p.m. tonight until 6 p.m. Sunday evening.

The storm is expected to come into two waves. The first wave is supposed to hit Minnesota tonight and continue through early Saturday morning, dropping a potential four to eight inches of snow overnight.

The second wave is expected to start Saturday afternoon and continue into Sunday afternoon, with a potential of another six to eight inches of snow.

The storm will also bring conditions of ice, blowing and drifting snow to Minnesota. Total accumulation of snow could range from eight to eighteen inches in the Metro area.

According to Rich Naistat, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s Chanhassen office, the weekend storm is the biggest of the winter and could double the season’s snowfall in one weekend. So far this year, the Twin Cities have seen just 12.2 inches of snow, much less than the average. Weather officials have even called it a “drought� because of the constant lack of precipitation across Minnesota.

The city of St. Paul alone has more than 1,500 tons of road salt stored in four locations and 85 plows and 11 sanding trucks are prepared to start clearing the major routes as soon as more than two inches of snow falls, St. Paul Director of Public Works Bruce Beese said.

February 22, 2007

Cheney to visit loyal Australia

Dick Cheney’s arrival in Australia Thursday was protested by Australians outside of Sydney’s town hall.

Police clashed with demonstrators that were trying to break through police lines and march on the U.S. consulate a few hours before Cheney arrived. In all, there were around 200 protestors, ten of whom were arrested.

Organizers said that demonstrations would become increasingly noisy during Cheney’s stay. Polls show that the war in Iraq is deeply unpopular among Australians.

Cheney will be on a three day visit in Australia, thanking the county for being one of the few supporters in the war in Iraq. MSNBC.com reports that Australia is extremely unique because it has actually offered more troops as time as passed to Iraq and Afghanistan, instead of less. Earlier this week, Australia sent more troops to Iraq and was considering adding more in Afghanistan.

Cheney will be discussing issues such as Iraq, as well as other security issues with Australia’s Prime Minister John Howard. CNN.com said Howard is under increasing pressure to implement an exit strategy in Iraq. With the British Government announcing its plan to remove troops earlier this week, the pressure has increased. Howard thus far has refused to remove troops (and set a timetable) because he believes “it would give terrorist a timetable to claim victory.�

Cheney will also explain the U.S.’s new plan of sending another 21,500 troops to Iraq. According to an Australia-U.S. relations expert, Cheney might also discuss the issues in Iran and North Korea. Cheney will be giving a speech on Friday concerning Australia and U.S. relations.

Analysis: The articles concerning Cheney’s visit showed a good example of the “point-support� format. There were numerous examples of evidence in quotes, statistics and paraphrasing. In the Yahoo article, the lead begins with a statement saying police clashed with demonstrators protesting against Cheney’s arrival. In the following paragraph, there is specific evidence supporting it: there were over 200 protestors and ten of them were arrested. More statistical evidence came from later in the article when the article talked about Howard sending more troops to Afghanistan and Iraq, unlike most countries who are withdrawing troops from the area. A good quote came from one of the organizers in protest. The article summarized that the protesters would get noisier as the days went on during Cheney’s visit. The following paragraph had “Police have attempted to drive the anti-war protest off the street,� Jean Parker, a leader of the Stop the War Coalition, told the crowd. "We will not be silenced.� Although simple, this is a good example of a point, then support of the point in a direct quote. Most of the article was done in paraphrasing. One example of this was when the article stated polls show that Australians were deeply against the war and wanted troops to be pulled out. The following paragraphs explain the pressure Howard was under, how it is increasing (b/c other countries pulling out) and Howard’s personal opinion on the issue (doesn’t want to send a timetable). All in all, the article is a good example of the point-support system.

February 21, 2007

Shipwreck found

A possible uncharted shipwreck in Lake Superior near Duluth was discovered by Minnesotan anglers Sunday.

The ship, which is located about 150 feet off-shore from Duluth’s Park Point, is located in about ten feet of water. The ship could be seen through the ice by the anglers, despite ten inches the lake has in this area.

As of right now, it is unclear whether the wreck happened in this area and was uncharted, or if the ship had been documented as a wreck and moved due to water currents.

According to the Pioneer Press, the extremely low water level and unusually transparent ice may have made the ship easier to see. The PP also reported that there had been other documented shipwrecks near Duluth, but not relative to this specific location.

Thom Holden, director of the Lake Superior Maritime Visitors Center, said he didn’t know of any wrecks occurring in the area.

Wisconsin earns number one, then bounced

Michigan State upset No.1 ranked Wisconsin 64-55 Tuesday night in Men’s college basketball. The Badgers had been named the top team in the nation for the first time in history.

Drew Neitzel, a junior guard for Michigan State, led the Spartans to victory with 28 points. Neitzel hit several key shots down the stretch in the second half.

The victory was the first win for Michigan State over a top-ranked team in almost 30 years, when they beat Indiana State in the national championship in 1979.

Wisconsin now trails No. 2 ranked Ohio State by a half-game in the Big Ten standings. The two teams will go head-to-head on Sunday, proving to be one of the biggest games of the year thus far.

With the big win, Michigan State improves its resume for the upcoming March Madness Tournament. The Spartans have an overall record of 20-8, and are 7-6 in the Big Ten.

Coach Tom Izzo of the Spartans called it one of the best wins he has ever enjoyed on the Spartans’ home court.

February 20, 2007

Man shot in front of courthouse

Police shot and wounded a defendant outside a courtroom Tuesday in Barnstable, Mass.

MSNBC.com reported that the defendant escaped authorities and stole a car from a parking lot. The defendant, Anthony Roberts, 22, then crashed into numerous parked cars and struck a wall. Roberts was then surrounded by police and was shot in front of Barnstable District Court, where he was scheduled for a hearing.

A local news website, thebostonchannel.com, reported that Roberts was initially taken to Cape Cod Hospital. Later Roberts was taken by helicopter to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. He was listed in critical condition Tuesday night, according to hospital officials in Boston.

Roberts was arrested Friday after he fled the scene of an accident after striking a tree. Police also charged him with receiving a stolen plasma television and suspected Roberts to be involved in a series of break-ins of cars and homes.

February 16, 2007

Cigarette causes fire

A Louisville, Ken., fire that killed 10 people in early February was likely started by a cigarette, a fire official said Thursday.

According to Rob Goodwin, the chief deputy fire marshal, an ashtray was found near a chair and a burn pattern indicates that the chair was the fire’s starting location.

Four adults and six children all died from smoke inhalation in the fire, which occurred on Feb. 6 in Bardstown. Only one person survived. All of the victims were from the same extended family.

The potential victim who left the cigarette was not named. Investigators said that some of the adults in the house were regular smokers.

From where the victims were found, it appears that they tried to escape but couldn’t get out of the house. Goodwin said that the cigarette burned for 40 minutes while producing toxic smoke without anyone noticing it. The fire then spread rapidly and engulfed the house.

The Kentucky Legislature is considering passing a law requiring cigarettes sold in the state to be made out of fire-safe paper, which puts itself out when left alone. Six other states have passed laws like this, along with another 12 pending similar measures.

Within days of the fire, arson, electrical problems and gas leaks were ruled out as causes. A smoke detector was found, but it was unclear if it had been working.

February 15, 2007

Bonds going for record

After months of squabbling and wrangling between Barry Bonds and the San Francisco Giants, Bonds finally signed a one-year $15.8 million contract Thursday.

The deal was approved by the commissioner’s office, unlike a deal that was confirmed but not approved by Commissioner Bud Selig a few weeks ago (Jan. 29). The contract could not be approved because of the language used. Promotional appearances and possible indictments (for steroid use, if Bonds was convicted of perjury) were involved in the rejected contract. See ESPN.com for more details on this.

Bonds is expected to report to spring training on Monday, just in time for the first team work-out on Tuesday. He will fill the 40th spot on the 40 man roster.

Bonds batted .270 with 26 homers and 77 RBI, along with 115 walks in 130 games last year. According to the Giants, Bonds’ trainer and his agent, Bonds “has been working out all off-season at UCLA and appears as healthy as ever.� Bonds played in only 14 games in 2005 due to numerous surgeries on his right knee.

Bonds, 42, is only 22 homeruns away from breaking Hank Aaron’s all-time record of 755. The always controversial Bonds was met with numerous boo’s, negative signs and curses last year whenever the Giants played away games.

A federal grand jury is currently investigating Bonds for perjury when he testified in 2003 in a steroid distribution case that he “hadn't knowingly taken any performance-enhancing drugs.�

Hijacking attempt ends in arrest

A man was arrested Thursday after hijacking a 737 Mauritanian plane bound for Nouadhibou.

MSNBC.com reported that passengers on the plane overpowered the hijacker and eventually brought the plane to Spain’s Canary Islands.

CNN.com said that 71 passengers and eight crew members were on the plane. The plane, which took-off from the airport in Nouakchott, was hijacked shorter after it left the ground.

CNN reported that several people had been wounded due to gunfire but no other details were made available. MSNBC said that 21 passengers were treated for slight injuries, the most serious being a pregnant woman in severe shock.

The man was arrested soon after the plane landed in the Canary Islands. There were no other suspects.

February 14, 2007

Death after chase ruled a suicide

The death of a Minneapolis man earlier this week after a police chase was ruled a suicide Tuesday, according to the Ramsey County Medical Center office.

Mitchell Moua, 25, had been shooting back at police during a chase on Monday. Moua eventually crashed into parked cars near a thrift store. As the officers approached the vehicle, a gunshot went off. Hearing the gunshot, officers returned fire.

The medical examiner’s office said a police round was found in Moua’s arm, and other bullets struck the door of the vehicle. The autopsy showed an entrance and exit wound in Moua’s head, the now proven cause of death.

According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, police were trying to arrest Moua on a warrant for assault and false imprisonment charges. The PP also reported that Moua had held a gun to his head prior to the police chase.

Moua was a member of the Masters of Destruction gang, also referred to as the Men of Destruction. He had been released in November from federal prison for selling methamphetamines. Federal authorities were also looking for Moua for weapons violations.

The PP goes into much more detail of the account. Both papers have quotes from Moua's father, Blong Moua.

February 13, 2007

Mauer to stay for four more years

The Minnesota Twins signed hometown hero Joe Mauer to a four-year contract worth $33 million, avoiding an arbitration hearing scheduled for Tuesday.

Mauer batted .347 and won the first American League batting title in MLB history for a catcher last year. He was given the second biggest contract in Twins franchise history.

According to the contract, Mauer will make $3.75 million in 2007, $6.28 million in 2008, $10.9 million in 2009 and $12.5 million in 2010. Mauer only made $400, 000 last year.

Mauer, only 24, will be under contract when the new stadium opens in 2010.

Twins General Manager Terry Ryan has been busy negotiating with numerous players trying to keep key players in Twins uniforms. So far, Ryan has signed MVP Justin Morneau, Nick Punto, Mauer Lew Ford and Juan Rincon. Michael Cuddyer, who had a very good season and was a key player last year, has yet to be signed.

February 9, 2007

18-year-old murder solved

A murder which has gone unsolved for more than 18 years was finally solved Thursday, after new DNA evidence pointed to the killer.

Larry Wayne Brigman, 57, was charged with second-degree murder in the death of Dale Luverne Heinold Thursday in Ramsey County District Court. Heinold was stabbed to death in 1989 in St. Paul.

Brigman is currently in an Ohio jail for committing a similar crime three weeks after Heinold’s death. He also has numerous parole violations and has fled convictions.

The DNA match was the first ever in a cold case for St. Paul police. According to Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner, Heinold’s murder was solved because of continuing persistence of family and police.

Heinold was killed in May of 1989, where authorities found blood of an alleged attacker in his apartment. Police found Heinold’s stolen car parked near a bar in Ohio as well. The evidence went cold soon after.

Heinold’s sister then went to authorities last June, asking them to review the case again. The blood samples recovered from the scene in 1989 were given to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension lab for testing.

In October, the MBC told St. Paul police that they had matched the blood from the crime scene to Brigman through a national database.

Both papers reported on an interview that a Minnesota invesigator did with Brigman back in November. According to the interview, police told him his DNA had been found in another murder case. Brigman replied, “"That's sweet. That’s just what I need.�

Both of the local papers have a lot more information on Brigman and his previous convictions.

Analysis: The Star Tribune and the Pioneer Press told this story as hard-news, but with a more personal attachment to it. The leads were different. The ST had a lead summarizing the mystery and heartache of the subject, while the PP focused on the hard-news conviction. Both stories go to the main point of new DNA evidence being found immediately. Then, the storytelling of the articles went into to the details of family and Brigman’s history. The structure also included detailed information about the case and murder scene back in 1989. Flashbacks, sort to speak, were used to describe the events for people who had not heard of the case before today’s article. Both articles were easy to follow and provide the reader with what information is needed. The history aspect obviously helps because without it, the article wouldn’t make sense at all. I thought it was interesting that both papers concluded their articles with the interview piece and quote from Brigman. It is also worth pointing out that the papers did use some different sources, but mainly the story wasn’t affected by it. Usually the sources said the same things, just by different people. The sentences were short and smooth, allowing the reader to follow the storyline easy. The articles could be considered to be in the inverted pyramid format, but it would be hard to take a lot out of the info, considering the history and previous information needed to inform the reader. Therefore, it is hard to consider which piece of information is more important than the other, outside of the conviction of course.

February 8, 2007

Former Playboy Playmate Anna Nicole Smith dies

Anna Nicole Smith died Thursday after being found unconscious in a Florida hotel room.

According to USAToday.com, Smith collapsed in her room at the Hard Rock Seminole Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla., and was found unresponsive by her personal nurse.

Before rescue workers arrived, Smith’s bodyguard attempted to do CPR. Smith was then taken to Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood at around 2 p.m., where she later died.

In the developing story, the cause of death is not yet known. The death is currently being investigated and an autopsy is scheduled for Friday. According to the Broward County Medical Examiner's Office, the findings of the autopsy are expected to be announced as soon as possible.

Smith was only 39 years old. She was a former Playboy Playmate, a reality television star, a Guess model and a spokeswoman for Trimspa.

CNN.com and USAToday.com have more information, photos and life stories about Smith. The USAToday article focuses a lot on Smith’s personal life and her current legal battles. The CNN article focuses more on her celebrity career. Both sites also have other related articles on the death, and the current situation of her court cases.

You can be sure there will loads of coverage on the death and career of Smith everywhere.

Wisconsin woman dies in crash

Black ice and icy road conditions may have been a factor in a fatal crash Wednesday in Hastings, where an Ellsworth, Wis., woman died.

According to the Minnesota State Patrol, the 49-year-old woman was driving southbound on Highway 61 at about 6:30 a.m., when another motorist driving northbound lost control of a pickup. The driver of the pickup, 42-year-old Kevin D. Holcomb collided with another vehicle before striking the woman’s vehicle head-on.

The woman, whose name will be released sometime Thursday, was airlifted to Regions Hospital and was later pronounced dead.

Holcomb didn’t suffer any injuries. According to the State Patrol, he was wearing a seatbelt and had not been drinking.

The other driver, Carrie Cernohous, 48, was taken to Regina Hospital in Hastings with a minor neck injury. Cernohous and the driver who was killed were wearing seatbelts as well.

The accident, which occurred over the Mississippi Bridge near Hastings, is currently being investigated by the State Patrol.

The accident caused the bridge to close in both directions from 6:30 a.m. to after 9 a.m., resulting in massive delays during the morning commute.

February 7, 2007

Child pornography ring discovered

A global child porn ring involving more than 2,360 suspects (600 of them reportedly Americans) from 77 countries showing sexually explicit material of children was uncovered Wednesday, according to Australian authorities.

Interior Minister Guenther Platter said that numerous authorities around the world were looking into potential suspects. The FBI was investigating about 600 suspects, Germany was investigating about 400 suspects, France was investigating about 100 suspects and at least 23 were being investigated in Australia.

Platter also said images and videos received by Austria’s Federal Criminal Investigations Bureau “showed the worst kind of child sexual abuse.� The images included children ranging from infants to 14 years of age.

The Australian suspects ranged in age from 17 to 69.

The original investigation began back in July when a man working for a Vienna-based internet file noticed the pornographic material and approached authorities.

Once notified, authorities and investigators then recorded more than 8,000 hits from 2,361 computer I.P. addresses in 77 countries ranging from Algeria to South Africa, within a 24 hour period.

The videos and images were posted on an unidentified Russian site. Authorities believe that the videos were made somewhere in Eastern Europe and uploaded to sites somewhere in Britain.

February 5, 2007

Colts win it all

The Indianapolis Colts beat the Chicago Bears 29-17 Sunday in a rainy Super Bowl XLI.

The game started with a bang when Devin Hester returned the opening kick-off 92 yards for a touchdown. The Bears were off and running, but eventually the Colts took over.

Peyton Manning guided the Colts to the win, finishing with 247 yards and one touchdown. He also took home Super Bowl MVP honors.

Joseph Addai and Dominic Rhodes combined for a total of 264 yards of offense. On the ground alone, the dynamic-duo ran for 191 yards on 42 carriers, all against the NFC’s No. 1 defense.

The Colts held the ball for 38:04, compared to 21:26 for Chicago. The inconsistency of the Chicago offense forced the Chicago defense to be on the field way too long. Manning and the Colts offense eventually took advantage.

Rainy conditions seemed to have its affect on both teams. The two teams combined for a Super Bowl record eight turnovers. Surprisingly, the game was the first ill-weathered Super Bowl in its history.

The Colts forced five of those eight turnovers and held the Bears offense to only 265 total yards. Kelvin Hayden, a backup cornerback, intercepted a Rex Grossman pass in the fourth quarter and returned it 56 yards for a touchdown, which proved to be the nail in the coffin for the Bears.

Rex Grossman was 20-28 for 165 yards, with one touchdown and two key interceptions in the fourth quarter. Grossman also fumbled two snaps from center.

The Super Bowl Victory was the first in franchise history for the Colts since the team left Baltimore in 1984. Tony Dungy became the first African-American to win a Super Bowl.

February 4, 2007

Class of 2007: NFL Hall of Fame

The 2007 NFL Hall of Fame inductees were announced Saturday, right before the Super Bowl.

The six players included Michael Irvin, Thurman Thomas, Bruce Matthews, Roger Wehrli, Charlie Sanders and Gene Hickerson.

Surprisingly, former commissioner Paul Tagliabue, who retired this season, was not voted into the Hall.

The actual inductions will take place this summer, Aug. 4 and 5 in Canton, Ohio.

Sanders, a former University of Minnesota star, is the sixth Gopher to placed into the Hall. Sanders is also the only seventh tight end inducted into the Hall in NFL history. Sanders finished his NFL career with 336 catches for 4,187 yards and 31 touchdowns. Sanders spent his entire career with the Detroit Lions from 1968-77 and went to seven Pro Bowls.

The more controversial Irvin was selected to the Hall in his third year of being on the ballot. His troubled past of drug possession may have been why Irvin had to wait. Irvin finished his career with 750 receptions for 11,904 yards and 65 touchdowns. He went to five Pro Bowls in a row and is a member of the NFL’s all-decade team of the 1990’s. He spent his entire career with the Dallas Cowboys.

Thomas was the MVP in 1991 and led four Buffalo Bills teams to the Super Bowl in the 90’s. He had 12,074 rushing yards in his career, sixth on the all-time list for running backs.

Matthews spent 19 years in the league with the Oilers and Titans as an offensive lineman. He played the most games by a positional player in NFL history. He was selected to 14 straight Pro Bowls, tied for the NFL record. He never missed a game due to injury.

Wehrli was a cornerback who started for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1969 and continued to play until 1982. He intercepted 40 passes and recovered 19 fumbles during his career.

Hickerson played 15 seasons with the Browns, during which he blocked for three Hall of Famers. He was an All-Pro for five years in a row. He was elected this year after being on the ballot for the past 29 years.

Analysis: It was interesting to look at ESPN’s view on the announcement and the Star Tribune’s view. ESPN primarily focused on Michael Irvin, perhaps because Irvin works for ESPN. The majority of the quotes in the ESPN article were from Irvin. ESPN did a nice job of including other quotes as well. For example, ESPN used quotes from all six players inducted, and a few quotes from other teammates of the six. The Star Tribune’s article was focused on Charlie Sanders because he played football and basketball for the U. It had more of a local approach. The Tribune only quoted from Sanders in the article. The quotes in the Tribune were directly quoted. There were also a few partial quotes. Some quotes were introduced oddly: “Asked for his favorite memory of Minnesota, Sanders laughed. “Cold,� he said.� However, the writer did a nice job of leading up to the quotes/ the quotes backed up the writer’s words. ESPN used a majority of direct quotes, especially after summarizing the player’s career stats. It gave a nice background for the reader to follow. ESPN.com also had video next to the article of the players talking about the inductions.

Man convicted after cell phone incident

A man was convicted of second-degree domestic assault Saturday in Missouri for shoving a cell phone down his ex-girlfriend’s throat.

The suspect, Marlon Brando Gill, 25, allegedly shoved a phone down Melinda Abell’s throat in Dec. 2005 during an argument. Bell was immediately sent to the hospital for emergency surgery. According to MSNBC.com, doctors said she nearly died because of a blocked airway.

Gill’s defense claimed that Abell was drunk during the incident and swallowed the phone to prevent Gill from seeing who she had been calling.

“If I didn't want him to see my phone, I would have just thrown it out the window and busted it,� Abell said.

A witness testified that the injuries found in and around Abell’s mouth were parallel to a phone being forced down someone’s throat.

CNN.com reported that the jury was unable to reach a verdict in July for first-degree domestic assault, which would have resulted in life in prison.

The jury could also not agree on the sentence for Gill, which will now be passed onto a judge. Gill faces a maximum sentence of seven years in prison.

February 1, 2007

Bombings continue in Iraq

Two suicide bombs exploded in a crowded area Thursday in Hillah, Iraq, a Shiite city 60 miles south of Baghdad.

There seems to be conflicting numbers on the deaths and injuries being reported. MSNBC.com is reporting that the blasts killed 45 people and injured 150.

CNN.com is saying the blasts killed 61 people and injured 150. Both reports cite the local police on these numbers.

The two bombers apparently walked into a crowded market at around 6 p.m., when one of them was spotted by police. According to CNN, the first bomber exploded his bomb before the officers could reach him. According to MSNBC, police stopped the bomber, and then the bomb was detonated. The second bomb exploded immediately after the first.

This was not the first attack committed in the city of Hillah. In February 2005, a suicide car bomber killed 125 people, one of the deadliest attacks thus far in the Iraq War.

Another interesting point to note is the spelling of the city. MSNBC spelled it "Hillah," while CNN spelled it "Hilla." According to Yahoo.com, the correct spelling is "Hillah."

CNN also reported on other bombings across Iraq Thursday. CNN reported that gunmen and bombers targeted college students and faculty members in Baghdad, Tikrit, and Baquba. Eight people were killed in these attacks and others wounded.

CNN reported another six people were killed and eight others wounded when a bomb exploded near a bus in a Shiite neighborhood near central Baghdad.