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May 5, 2007

Wife for sale?

The Brazilian Government has ordered an Internet auction site to remove an ad which a man offered to sell his wife for $50.

Mercado Liyre, partially owned by eBay, was ordered to remove the ad by the Secretariat of Public Policies for Women on Friday, CNN.com said. They said the ad was violating a law banning the offer or sale of human organs, people, blood, bones or skin.

CNN.com said the ad was not longer on the website on Saturday.

The Estado news agency said it was not clear if the ad was a joke.

According to CNN, the man who posted the ad said: “I sell my wife for reasons I prefer to keep short…I really need the money.?

The ad went on to describe the wife physically and listed her qualities as homemaker and companion, CNN said.

April 26, 2007

Schilling's famous bloody sock fake?

Baltimore Orioles broadcaster Gary Thorne said on the air Wednesday that Curt Schilling painted his famous “bloody sock? as a public relations stunt back in the 2004 American League Championship Series.

Schilling had a right ankle tendon injury during the series, and had stitches placed into his ankle so he could protect a tendon to pitch Game 6 against the Yankees. A red stain, which was previously thought to be blood, could clearly be seen on his sock. He had another bloody sock in Game 2 of the World Series against the Cardinals.

The Red Sox went on the World Series in 2004. The famous bloody sock is now in the Hall of Fame.

Thorne said his source was the Red Sox’s backup catcher Doug Mirabelli. Mirabelli denied Thorne’s claim, and said it was a “straight lie? in an interview with the Boston Globe.

According to ESPN, Thorne said that Mirabelli had told him the story “a couple of years ago.?

Similar charges against Schilling have been made before, according to MSNBC.com. GQ Magazine also claimed the blood was fake and cited an anonymous Red Sox player as its source.

Schilling insists that the blood was real and former teammate Kevin Millar, who currently plays for the Orioles, said it was real as well. In response to the claim, Schilling said, “I got the 9-inch scar for you. You can see it.?

April 21, 2007

Cocaine discovered, 1 tons worth

A truck flipped after taking a curve too fast in Bogota, Colombia Thursday, spilling nearly a ton of cocaine across a Colombian highway, MSNBC.com reported.

Police said the drugs were hidden in the truck’s walls and roof, which were ripped open during the crash.

The driver escaped any injury but was arrested immediately. Police said the drugs were destined for the northern port of Uraba, a major exit point for Colombia’s massive drug smuggling industry.

It was interesting that this story wasn’t reported on until today (Saturday) on MSNBC.com. Yahoo! News reported on the incident on early Friday morning. The article could not be found on CNN.com, interestingly.

April 13, 2007

Crazy Twins

The Twins got an exciting, out-of-the-ordinary win on Thursday night, beating the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 3-2.

Michael Cuddyer hit a two-run homerun in the fourth inning to start the scoring.

Carlos Silva, who struggled all of last year, pitched 6 2/3 innings, leaving the Twins with a 2-0 lead. Juan Rincon pitched 1/3 of the eighth inning and blew the lead, giving up a solo homerun to Ty Wigginton and a run-scoring single to Carlos Pena.

In the top of the ninth, Joe Nathan gave up a single to Ben Zobrist. Carl Crawford followed with a hit down the right field line for what seemed to be for extra bases.

As Zobrist was rounding third base, he was held up by Tom Foley, Tampa Bay’s third base coach. Crawford never looked to see that Foley had stopped Zobrist at third and continued to round second. In a huge base-running error, Zobrist ran home as a relay throw went to Joe Mauer. Mauer then chased down Zobrist and tagged him out, while Crawford ran back to second base. Mauer threw to second base, where Crawford was tagged out by Alexi Casilla.

The base running error left an unusual 9-4-2-6 double play. Ron Gardenhire said that he had never seen anything like it before.

In the bottom of the ninth, with the score still tied, Justin Morneau ended the game with a walk-off homerun, which barely cleared the left field fence.

The Devil Rays have not won a game at the Metrodome in 1,044 days. The last time they beat the Twins in Minnesota was in June 3, 2004. The Twins have now beaten the Devil Rays 10 times in a row at the Dome. They continue the four game series tonight.

Here is a highlight package from ESPN on the game. Box score.

April 6, 2007

Errors

I took a look at the New York Times for the errors blog.

There were a decent amount of corrections to the paper. They included an article in which, “misstated the context of a response by Paul J. Browne,? a police spokesman. In the article, the writer reported on a question that Browne apparently answered “No comment on anything that may have a bearing on pending litigation.? Browne denies he was asked this question and answered this way.

Other corrections included a misstatement of a law that regulated the wearing of head scarves by Muslim girls and women. Another correction was due to a misstatement of the results of a study.

Another article misstated the timing and number of Ford plant closings under its restructuring plan.

As seen from these examples, there are more than just grammatical errors to worry about when writing a story. The way someone interprets a quote, a study or a law can end up with mistakes. It’s important to be careful, as we have learned throughout the semester.

The Times welcomes corrections and thoughts from readers. They can be reached at: nytimes@nytimes.com or at 1-888-NYT-NEWS.

March 29, 2007

Large storm causes havoc

A massive tornado, reportedly as wide as two football fields, carved through an eastern Colorado town along with numerous others that left four people dead in three states, CNN.com reported.

The large spring storm passed from the Rockies into the Plains. According to the National Weather Service, 65 tornadoes were reported in Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska Wednesday.

One twister killed an Oklahoma couple, one a Texas man and another Colorado woman. The storm stretched from South Dakota to Texas early Thursday, bringing flash flood warnings, winter storm warnings and severe weather all over the country. In Wyoming, 58 inches of snow was reported in the Wind River Mountains.

Holly, Colorado saw some of the worst damage. At least eight people were injured and dozens of homes damaged or destroyed. The storm also killed dozens of cattle.

In western Nebraska 11 tornadoes destroyed three homes and 10-12 miles of power lines. Two other tornadoes in Kansas severely damaged three homes.

Texas saw baseball-sized hail, rain and tornadoes that overturned trucks, injuring at least three people.

Because of the storm, a 250-mile portion of Interstate 80 in Wyoming was closed. Large portions of Interstate 25 and more than 80 miles of I-90 were closed as well.

CNN and MSNBC have much more details on the story, including video and pictures of the storm from the states involved.

March 23, 2007

Tubby Smith comes to U

After a forgettable season, the University of Minnesota basketball team took a step forward Thursday when they announced Tubby Smith as their new head basketball coach.

Smith will be officially introduced today at noon during a press conference and prep rally in Williams Arena.

Smith told ESPN radio that he was looking for a challenge when he left Kentucky for Minnesota. Smith still had four years left on his contract with Kentucky. Rumors have been spreading about his job security all year in Kentucky, after failing to reach the Sweet 16 the past two seasons. The Gophers haven’t made the Sweet 16 since 1997.

Smith won the 1998 national title, five SEC championships and went to 10 straight NCAA tournaments during his tenure with Kentucky. He went 263-83 in 10 seasons with Kentucky, a 76 winning percentage. He will be the Gophers 16th basketball coach in its history.

The Star Tribune reported that the new contract with Smith is a seven-year deal worth $1.7 million per season. It also includes incentives for both basketball and academic performance.

The job will indeed be a challenge. The Gophers finished this season 9-22, the most losses in school history. They went 3-13 in the Big Ten Conference. The team has been crippled in recruiting dating back to the Clem Haskins era, when numerous athletes were caught in an academic fraud scandal. The NCAA enforced severe sanctions against the U, and the team hasn’t been a contender since.

Pioneer Press writer Marcus R. Fuller said that in “Smith, they welcome the biggest name to hit Dinkytown since Lou Holtz took over the football program in 1984.?

Smith will not face the high expectations and pressure from a prominent basketball school like Kentucky here in Minnesota. The AP reported that "Smith won’t face the pressure here in Minnesota, where the Gopher fans just want to see their team compete in the Big Ten.?

March 7, 2007

Kobe suspended, again

Kobe Bryant was suspended one game after “making contact with the face? with Marko Jaric of the Minnesota Timberwolves Tuesday night.

Here is the link to the video.

It was the second suspension for Bryant this season for the same issue. On Jan. 28, Bryant unintentionally hit Manu Ginobili when his shot was blocked while flailing his arms around. What seemed to be déjà vu happened to Jaric.

After hitting Ginobili, Bryant wasn’t called for a foul. However, after hitting Jaric, Bryant was called for a foul. Jaric didn’t believe Bryant had done it intentionally, adding “I don’t think players should be suspended for things that happen unintentionally.?

“I was very surprised to see a similar type of play occur,? NBA vice president Stu Jackson said. Jackson also said that if it happened again, there would be harsher consequences.

The NBA has been trying to “clean-up? the league this year, getting tough on flagrant fouls and unnecessary physical contact. The large Denver Nuggets-New York Knicks brawl earlier this season added to the NBA’s concern.

The suspension marked Bryant’s fifth career suspension, all involving physical contact with other players. He was suspended for an elbow to the throat in 2005 and for throwing punches in 2000 and 2002.

March 3, 2007

6 die in bus crash

Six people, including four university athletes, died Friday in bus crash in Atlanta.

The bus was carrying the Bluffton University baseball team, on its way to Florida for spring-training games that were supposed to start on Saturday.

Scott Harmon, David Betts, Cody Holp and Tyler Williams, freshmen and sophomores, were killed in the accident. The driver, Jerome Niemeyer, and his wife, Jean Niemeyer, were also killed.

Coach James Grandey and 28 other players were taken to a hospital. Grandey and six players were in serious or critical condition Friday evening. Most other players were released relatively quickly.

Investigators said Niemeyer mistook an exit ramp for a lane and went into the curve at full speed. It was dark at the time, but weather is not being considered as an issue. The bus went off the highway overpass and fell 30 feet to another below interstate.

Investigators said there were no visual skid marks at the scene. They hope to look into the bus’ computer system to find out more. Niemeyer had just relieved another driver one hour before the accident.

Jean and Jerome Niemeyer were wearing seatbelts. It was not known if the passengers were wearing any. Charter buses like the one involved typically do not have passenger seatbelts. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash, and the results could take up to a year to be released.
The incident hit the Bluffton campus hard. The school, which only has 1,155 students, held a candlelight vigil Friday night. About 500 students and residents gathered to mourn the loss of the students and athletes. Earlier, faculty and other students gathered in the school’s gymnasium, where a table with a baseball and a baseball glove sat on a table surrounded by candles.

February 21, 2007

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 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.?

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.

January 28, 2007

Federer dominates "down under"

Roger Federer won yet another Grand Slam Title in the wee hours of Sunday morning in Australia.

Federer beat Fernando Gonzalez of Chile in straight sets, 7-6 (2), 6-4, 6-4. The win marks Federer’s 10th Grand Slam title in his career, tied for 5th all-time. Gonzalez played Federer tough, but still lost in straight sets.

Federer’s dominance in the tennis world is ridiculous. He has not lost in 36 matches, didn’t lose one set during the entire Australian Open and has won six out of the last seven Grand Slam titles. Federer also became the first man to win three straight major titles twice during his career.

Federer has been ranked number one in the tennis world for 156 straight weeks. Gonzalez put it this way: “He is a great champion who played a really good match today, all week—almost all his life.?

Federer, only 25, will go for his 11th title in the upcoming French Open, the only Grand Slam he actually has not won. Federer has tied the all-time record of playing in Grand Slam title finals by reaching the finals seven straight times. Look for Federer to be in the finals for 8th straight time in the French Open next June.

The two articles from ESPN.com and USAToday.com were basically the same. They gave a lot of information on Federer’s career accomplishments. ESPN went into more detail of the actual match compared to USAToday, although USAToday did have some details. The ESPN article used a lot of quotes from the two players as well. The USAToday article didn’t use any quotes. The USAToday was much shorter but more to the point.