November 2012 Archives

Ethics Discussion

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By Sarah Barchus

While writing an article for the Pioneer Press about a man who sexually abused an 8-year-old relative, reporter Marino Eccher faced several ethical questions.

Eccher said that in sexual abuse stories the biggest priority is taking care not to include information that would make it easy to identify the victim. He said that this is especially important in this story where the victim was a young child. In this case, the criminal complaints contained more specific information than he chose to include in the story, such as the victim's specific relation to the offender, Eccher said.

Another ethical question Eccher said a journalist needs to consider is if the graphic detail listed in the police reports is something her or she wants in the story. He said it is a matter of determining how to properly and accurately describe what happened without going too far. Eccher said that in this criminal complaint there were graphic descriptions and anatomical terms that, while factually important for the police, were inappropriate for the newspaper.

When writing the story, the reporter needs to remember the effect on the family. Eccher said that a reporter needs to consider "how much to make people read about what's probably the worst event of their lives in the newspaper."

Eccher said one way a newspaper can be sensitive to the family is through the placement of the story. For instance, this six-inch story was not placed on the front page, Eccher said.

"This is not the kind of story that needs to be shouted from a mountaintop," Eccher said. "The article told a story about the dark side of humanity; not everyone needs to know the situation."

Even though Eccher said the story was "ugly," he chose to write it because it was "interesting and unusual" that the man turned himself in.

As a reporter, one needs to remain unbiased but in stomach-turning cases this could be difficult. Eccher said that the best way to avoid getting caught up in the emotions is by looking for the facts of what is going on in the world.

Although it is important to keep the story's tone factual, Eccher said that a reporter can still "convey the human element" through word choice.

"A reporter is telling you it's really bad," Eccher said, when he or she uses words like "chilling."

Marino Eccher

Native Americans to receive $3.4 billion settlement

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By Sarah Barchus

Thousands of Native Americans will begin to receive payments from the government as part of a $3.4 billion settlement, the Pioneer Press reported.

The solution to the long-time dispute over government handling of Native American land accounts was first outlined in 2009, then approved by Congress in 2010, then went through a two year appeal process. The plan was finalized Saturday and was announced by government officials Monday, the Cable News Network reported.

The settlement began with a lawsuit filed by Blackfeet leader Elouise Cobell of Browning, Mont. in 1996 when she noticed that those leasing Indian land made profit while the American Indians who entrusted the land to the government saw nothing, the Pioneer Press reported.

Cobell died last year from cancer, but her long-term legal fight ended in victory with the $3.4 billion Cobell settlement, which will pay $1,000 checks to 350,000 beneficiaries by Christmas, the plaintiffs' attorneys said, the Pioneer Press reported.

Additionally, 1.9 billion will be used to buy fractions of land from willing Native American sellers, which will be given as allotments to the tribe. The settlement will also be used to create an Indian education scholarship, the Pioneer Press reported.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said he hopes the settlement will allow the government and the American Indians to move forward from the issue, CNN reported.

"With the settlement now final, we can put years of discord behind us and start a new chapter in our nation-to-nation relationship," he said, CNN reported.

Priest's conviction in sex case reversed

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By Sarah Barchus

The Minnesota Court of Appeals ordered that the priest accused of having sexual relations with a female parishioner be given a new trial, KARE 11 reported.

Christopher Wenthe, formerly of Nativity of Our Lord parish in St. Paul, was convicted in November 2011 for criminal sexual conduct involving a 21-year-old woman that he was counseling, the Pioneer Press reported.

Wenthe was released early from his one-year sentence in the Ramsey country workhouse for good behavior and then appealed his conviction, the Pioneer Press reported.

The appeals court overturned the conviction, saying it was unconstitutional because it was "based on evidence that was excessively entangled in matters of religion," KARE 11 reported. The case was sent back to the Ramsey County District Court for a new trial, the Pioneer Press reported.

Wenthe, 48, was counseling the woman in her fight against eating disorders and past sexual abuse when they became sexually involved, the Pioneer Press reported.

The state jury found the sexual relations to be criminal according to a clergy-sex statute because they were done "during the course of a meeting in which the (victim) sought or received religious or spiritual advice, aid, or comfort from the (clergy member) in private," the Pioneer Press reported.

Wenthe denied that having sex while he offered spiritual guidance, although he acknowledged the relationship, KARE 11 reported.

The appeals court ruled that the statute didn't violate the establishment clause, which says the government cannot make a law that respects the establishment of a religion, the Pioneer Press reported.

However, the ruling was overturned because the trial invited the jury to make judgments based on Roman Catholic doctrine instead of state law, the Pioneer Press reported.

By Sarah Barchus

Police are investigating how sensative documents were used as confetti last week in Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, the Pioneer Press reported.

Saul Finkelstein, a Manhattan attorney, was watching the parade with his 18-year-old son when they saw what looked to be a Social Security number on a piece of confetti, the Cable News Network reported.

"There were shredded papers all over the place, like snowball size, all over the ground," Finkelstein said. "There were whole sentences, license plate numbers and police reports," CNN reported.

Finkelstein realized that the documents were from the Nassau County Police Department on Long Island, the Pioneer Press reported.

Finkelstein brought about 30 pieces of confetti home with him and on Sunday Nassau detectives picked up the material, the Pioneer Press reported.

The pieces of paper were found to have Nassau county police officers's and detectives's names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, banking information, and other personal information, CNN reported from its affiliate WPIX.

"The Nassau County Police Department is very concerned about this situation. We will be conducting an investigation into this matter as well as reviewing our procedures for the disposing of sensitive documents," Inspector Kenneth W. Lack. said, CNN reported.

Orlando Veras, a spokesman for Macy's, said the company didn't know how the documents ended up in the parade because Macy's uses multi-colored, manufactured confetti. However, he said that it is common for spectators to bring their own confetti to the parade, CNN reported.

President Morsy faces conflict over edict

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By Sarah Barchus

President Mohamed Morsy and members of Egypt's highest judicial body will meet Monday regarding Morsi's recent edict that limited judicial power, the Cable News Network reported.

The Supreme Judicial Counsel disapproved of Thursday's edict, which placed all created law from the time Morsy took office until the constitution is finished in six months beyond judicial review, CNN reported.

The edict also fired Egypt's prosecutor general, which Morsy's office "deemed necessary in order to hold accountable those responsible for the corruption as well as other crimes during the previous regime and the transitional period," CNN reported.

Government and party officials said Morsy's power claim was necessary to protect the writing of the constitution and that it would expire after the constitution is finished, the New York Times reported.

Justice Minister Ahmed Mekki said that the edict's "means, the tools and the wording caused exactly the opposite of what was required," the New York Times reported.

Two of Morsy's advisers, Farouk Guweida and Samir Morcos have resigned in protest of the edict, CNN reported.

Thousands have protested Morsy's power move and some have vowed to occupy Tahrir Square, CNN reported.

The Muslim Brotherhood, supportive of Morsy, announced a "million man" demonstration in at Cairo's Abdeen Square. The demonstration is planned for Tuesday, when the opposition has planned a major protest, CNN reported.

Little Falls Students Mourn Shooting Victims

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By Sarah Barchus

Two Little Falls High School cousins were remembered by hundreds of fellow students Sunday night during a candlelight vigil on the school's football field, KARE 11 reported.

The students gathered to mourn the loss of Nicolas Brady, 17, and Haile Kifer, 18, who were shot Thursday by Byron David Smith, 64, when they allegedly broke into his home, the Pioneer Press reported.

"These were both friends to a lot of folks, involved in lots of activities and working their way towards graduation like so many other kids, trying to put their focus on the future," Superintendent Stephen Jones said, the Pioneer Press reported.

Support and counsel will be offered to Little Falls students when they return to classes on Tuesday, KARE 11 reported.

Family members said the cousins never showed up for Thanksgiving dinner, KARE 11 reported. Their bodies where found in Smith's basement by Morrison County police on Friday after they received a call about Smith's suspicious behavior, the Pioneer Press reported.

Police said Smith confessed immediately to shooting the teens and said it was in self-defense after they broke into his secluded home north of Little Falls by the Mississippi River, the Pioneer Press reported.

Morrison County Sheriff Michel Wetzel said that investigators believe Smith's actions went beyond self-defense, the Pioneer Press reported.

Smith's friend John Lange said Smith was friendly to the local teens, but was upset by a series of break-ins, KARE 11 reported.

"I think he just couldn't deal with it anymore," Lange said. "It's just a tragic thing."

Smith will appear in court on Tuesday on charges of second-degree murder, KARE 11 reported.

More than 1,500 people are following a Facebook page to remember the teens, the KARE 11 reported.

I-35W Collapse settled with $8.9 million

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By Sarah Barchus

Minnesota received the final check from a California design firm Tuesday, ending the legal battle surrounding the collapse of the Interstate 35W bridge, KARE 11 reported.

Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. paid the last installment in an $8.9 million settlement, which Minnesota Department of Transportation spokeswoman said "ends all litigation dealing with the collapse of the 35W bridge," the Pioneer Press reported.

The settlement was reached in October but the information was not made public, KARE 11 reported.

The I-35W bridge collapsed in August during rush hour, killing 13 people and injuring 145 more, the Pioneer Press reported.

Jacobs wanted the case dismissed due to a 10-year liability limit. The state's contract with the now defunct builder that Jacobs acquired in 1999 was from 1962, the Pioneer Press reported.

The Supreme Court denied Jacob's appeal in May. Jacobs said it agreed to the settlement to prevent continued legal expenses and protracted litigation, but did not admit any wrongdoing, KARE 11 reported.

The settlement money was put into the state's general fund and helped reimburse Minnesota taxpayers for the I-35W Survivor Compensation Fund, Democratic Rep. Ryan Winkler said. Winkler helped establish the fund for victims from the bridge collapse who agreed not to sue the state, the Pioneer Press reported.

"We can never change what happened on that terrible day, but fortunately we were able to come together and ensure that the survivors were given help to try to somehow rebuild their lives," Winkler said, the Pioneer Press reported.

Minnesota also reached a $5 million settlement with URS Corp., the engineering company that evaluated the bridge before its collapse, the Pioneer Press reported. Survivors and families of victims sued URS for $52 million.

The state tried to help those affected by the collapse through a $36.3 million compensation fund, the Pioneer Press reported.

Culture Discussion

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By Sarah Barchus

Abdul Mohamed, head of public relations for the Somali youth group Ka Joog, was interviewed over the phone by Ruben Rosario for an article in the Pioneer Press that covered the group's acceptance of the FBI leadership award.

Mohamed said it was a "good article" that accurately portrayed the struggles facing the Somali youth.

Mohamed said that what impressed him the most was that Rosario "focused on what it really meant to accept the award."

"Rosario was the only reporter who asked the tough question," Mohamed said.

Rosaario asked how the community would respond to the award. Mohamed said Rosario asked if after Ka Joog accepted the award, if the community would regard the group, as Mohamed put it, "as snitches."

This deals with a sensitive cultural issue. Mohamed said that although the Somali youth are "a minority and first generation immigrants, they are still citizens" and they need to be reminded that the "FBI protects their civil liberties."

Mohamed said that their organization's acceptance of the award will hopefully open the community's eyes to that reality.

Mohamed said that although he would have liked to add many things about Ka Joog, like the fact that they are in the process of opening an art center, he knows the information would be out of place in the award article.

Mohamed said Rosario did "a great job representing the organization."

Abdul Mohamed

By Sarah Barchus

The exhumation of Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasir Arafat's body began Tuesday as part of an investigation into his 2004 death, the Cable News Network reported.

The preparatory operation to remove Arafat from his glass and marble mausoleum in the compound in Ramallahis expected to take up to two weeks, as much of the stone removal is to be done by hand, The New York Times reported.

"It needs to be done meticulously and privately, out of respect for the late president and our religious traditions," an official said, who asked to remain anonymous because she isn't authorized to speak about the exhumation, The New York Times reported.

The exhumation was planned after Arafat's window, Suha Arafat, submitted a formal legal complaint under the suspicion that her husband was murdered, CNN reported.

Arafat became sick in October 2004 and was flown to a French military hospital for treatment. According to medical records he died there two weeks later at the age of 75 from stroke that resulted from a bleeding disorder caused by an infection, The New York Times reported.

Al Jazeera, the Arabic tv channel, reported that Arafat might have died from polonium poisoning, The New York Times reported.

Suha Arafat gave Al Jazeera Arafat's medical records and personal items, which Al Jazeera said they took to Europe for forensic testing, The New York Times reported.

University of Lausanne's Institute of Radiation Physics in Switzerland doctors said they found unusually high levels of polonium 210 and needed to do more testing to determine if it could have played a part Arafat's death, The New York Times reported.

French authorities opened a murder investigation of Arafat's death this year, CNN reported.

Suha Arafat said she asked for the exhumation so investigators could be "100% sure" that polonium was present at the time of Arafat's death, CNN reported.

Culture Analysis

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By Sarah Barchus

In an article from the Pioneer Press, reporter Ruben Rosario told the story of a Somali youth group breaking a stereotype of violence and receiving the FBI leadership award.

While the Ka Joog youth group's actions are what truly slashed at the stigmas about Somali youth, Rosario highlighted the group's triumph in a way that helped readers see more to what may be perceived as a violent demographic.

Rosario first explained that many Somalis get caught up in gang-violence and missions to join terrorist groups back in Somalia. Thus, he outlined the general view on Somali youth and recognized that this is what usually is discussed in the news.

He then shattered this image with the story of the youth-run Ka Joog group that develops mentorship programs and activities to interest Somali youth in education, music and the arts to combat, peacefully, as Rosario put it, the "violence and radicalization that has claimed too many of them."

In order to accurately depict the group, Rosario included perspectives from the Farah brothers Mohamed and Abdifatah, who founded the group, and active group member Abdul Mohamed, who extended the group's reach by helping inner city kids have an outdoor experience.

Rosario also used quotes from FBI Special Agent Chris Warrener and Abdirizak Ali Bihi, co-founder of the Somali Education and Social Advocacy Center, to emphasize the group's impact on their community.

Receiving the FBI's award was an outward sign of the inward changes the Ka Joog are making within their community. By telling this story, Rosario showed newsreaders that not all Somali youth have succumbed to violent influences. Rosario broke the negative, and perhaps stereotypical, Somali youth news stories by sharing the positive side.

NATO commander connected to Petraeus Investigation

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By Sarah Barchus

A top military agent is under investigation for allegedly sending inappropriate emails to a woman who is thought to be linked to the affair scandal surrounding CIA Director David Petraeus, the Cable News Network reported.

Gen. John Allen, commander of NATO's International Security Assistance Force, is the subject of an investigation involving 20,000 to 30,000 pages of documents, many of them emails, that were sent to Jill Kelly, a married woman with children, who was seen as a rival for Petraues's attentions by the woman he had an affair with, Paula Broadwell, a defense official said, The New York Times reported.

Allen will remain commander in Afghanistan during the investigation, but Defense Secretary Leon Panetta asked President Obama to delay Allen's nomination to Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, CNN reported.

Kelly went to the FBI last summer after she received harassing emails from who turned out to be Broadwell. Those emails led the FBI to review Broadwell's email account, where evidence of her affair with Petraeus was discovered. Apparently, Broadwell's saw Kelly as competition for Petraeus's attention, which prompted her to send the emails, The New York Times reported.

The defense official said Panetta was informed Sunday that the FBI had emails between Allen and Kelly. The Pentagon is currently reviewing the messages, The New York Times reported.

It was not clear Tuesday how Allen may be connected to the Petraeus investigation, CNN reported.

By Sarah Barchus

A 21-year-old man faces assault charges after he allegedly threw his girlfriend's 21-month-old daughter on a bed "like a sack of potatoes," the Pioneer Press reported.

Eric P. Boon was charged Friday for throwing Shawny Bradshaw, who medical professionals say may become a paraplegic as a result of Boon's actions, the Star Tribune reported.

On October 26, officers went to a house in Minneapolis, where Boon and his 21-year-old girlfriend Shanise Pruitt live in the basement, after receiving a call that a child was not breathing, the Star Tribune reported.

Boon was watching Shawny and his and Pruitt's newborn when the police were called. Boon said they were all sleeping when he woke up and discovered that the toddler wasn't breathing, the Pioneer Press reported.

Bradshaw was taken to North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale, where it was observed that she had swelling and bruises around her eye, chin and neck, the Star Tribune reported.

A county child protection investigator found out three days later that Boon had thrown the girl five feet, face-first onto the bed out of frustration after she had slipped out of his hands while he was carrying her down the stairs, the Star Tribune reported.

Doctors said that Shawny's serious high cervical-cord injury could have resulted from being thrown or from being subjected to other violent acts, the Star Tribune reported.

Boon is being held in the Hennepin County Jail, the Pioneer Press reported. His court hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, the Star Tribune reported.

BBC executives step aside after false sex abuse report

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By Sarah Barchus

The British Broadcasting Company's director and deputy director of news temporarily stepped aside from their positions the BBC said Monday, the Central News Network reported.

Helen Boaden and Steve Mitchell's "stepping aside" followed BBC Director General George Entwistle's resignation after the BBC's "Newsnight" program on Nov. 2 falsely implicated Alistair McAlpine, a Conservative Party politician, in allegations of sexual abuse at a children's home in North Wales in the 70s and 80s, The New York Times reported.

The BBC said it wanted "to make it absolutely clear that neither Helen Boaden nor Stephen Mitchell had anything at all to do with the false Newsnight report, The New York Times reported.

"Whilst recognizing this, the BBC believes there is a lack of clarity in the lines of command and control in BBC News as a result of some of those caught up in the ... review being unable to exercise their normal authority," the BBC said, CNN reported.

Fran Unsworth, head of news gathering, and Ceri Thomas, the editor of the "Today" current affairs radio program, will manage the executive's positions until the review is complete, The New York Times reported.

Lord Chris Patten, the chairman of the supervisory BBC Trust, said that the BBC is in need of a structural overhaul. Although the decisions around the Newsnight report showed ""unacceptably shoddy journalism," Patten urged readers to remember the BBC as a reliable news source, The New York Times reported.

"The BBC is and has been hugely respected around the world," Lord Patten said. "But we have to earn that. If the BBC loses that, then it is over," the New York Times reported.

Poll conversation

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By Sarah Barchus

In a recent article in the Star Tribune, politics reporter Baird Helgeson (651-925-5044) used information from polls to discuss the defeat of the proposed marriage amendment.

Helgeson said that when writing about controversial issues, like the marriage amendment, that attribution is key to avoid sounding biased. He said that he tries to write compelling stories and uses polls as the "bedrock" to back up statements that some people may see as "loaded."

Helgeson said that the Star Tribune uses polling companies to do its polling, and thus sets the standards for the information used in its stories. He said they usually shoot for a 3.5 percent margin of error.

Even with high standards for accuracy, Helgeson said the Star Tribune is sometimes criticized because they don't correct their sampling. He said they usually poll 1,000 people and ask them their political party. If they happen to have surveyed more people from one party than another, Helgeson said they don't try to find more people from the other party to balance the numbers. Helgeson said, "How people identify themselves is interesting."

Helgeson said the Star Tribune doesn't use a lot of outside polls, but when it does, reporters need to check who did the poll, see if the polled people were contacted via cellphone numbers (which generates a more representative sample), note the sample size, look for a low margin of error and read the questions carefully.

Helgeson said reporters have to be careful when using polls. He said politicians often criticize the press for hurting their campaign by reporting polls that show them in a bad light. Helgeson said reporters need to consider how their reporting may affect voters's opinions.

When polls are used effectively, Helgeson said they can bolster a case and display the issue; they can show what people care about and convey energy and motivation.

However, Helgeson said polling is a "tricky science." A poll is "just a snapshot in time," he said, and one needs to consider what other factors go into the numbers.

"A poll is just a poll," he said. "Even the best polls can be wrong."

Marriage amendment defeated in Minnesota

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By Sarah Barchus

The proposed marriage amendment in Minnesota was defeated, according to the Associated Press early Wednesday morning, the Star Tribune reported.

The decision makes Minnesota the first state to deny an the addition of an amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman into the state constitution, the Pioneer Press reported.

"Tonight Minnesota proved that love is bigger than government," Richard Carlbom, campaign manager for Minnesotans United for All Families, the main Vote No group, said. "Minnesota has become the first state in the nation to beat back a freedom-limiting amendment like this," the Pioneer Press reported.

To pass, the amendment needed the majority of votes. With 98 percent of the precincts reported, the amendment had received only 48 percent of the voters' support, the Star Tribune reported.

But some supporters like Chuck Darrell of Minnesota for Marriage, the leading support group for the amendment, were waiting for the official count to accept the decision, the Pioneer Press reported.

"No, we're not conceding. There's just too many counties out there," he said, the Pioneer Press reported.

The amendment was the most expensive and controversial ballot question in state history, the Star Tribune reported.

Both sides raised and spent a collective sum of $15 million on ads and efforts encouraging people to vote, the biggest action of its kind for organizations that aren't committed to political parties, the Star Tribune reported.

The issue also received attention in other states. Tuesday evening, Maryland and Maine became the first states where voters approved legalizing gay marriage, the Pioneer Press reported.

Though gay marriage is banned under state law in Minnesota, proponents of the amendment said that without the amendment it is possible for judges and lawmakers to overturn it, the Star Tribune reported.

Number Analysis

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By Sarah Barchus

In an article by the Cable News Network, the reporter effectively used numbers to inform readers of the size and composition of the LGBT community according to a recent Gallup poll.

The reporter said that 3.4% of Americans identify themselves as LBGT. This percentage is helpful to understand the portion of the American community that the LGBT comprise.

The reporter also uses percentages to break down the ethnicity, gender, political affiliation, age and education demographics of the LGBT population.

Again, these percentages give readers an idea of who is the LBGT community.

The reporter did use math in one paragraph to make clear how many men and woman consider themselves LBGT. The reporter said 3.6 percent of woman identified themselves as LBGT, compared to 3.3 percent of men. This is helpful for understanding the proportion of LBGT people within their gender categories. The reporter helped readers understand the numbers further, by telling them that 52 percent of the LBGT community is women. This puts the numbers in a different context and thus, gives them more meaning.

The reporter decided to include the number of same-sex partner/spouse households taken from the 2010 census, which measured sexual orientation for the first time. This is a different way of telling readers information because it gives them the exact number, which may help them picture the statistics in a different way.

The numbers were not overwhelming because they were the story. The reporter structured the story and separated the numbers in ways that were easy to read. My eyes were not numbed by the numerals.

The reader could have potentially used numbers in a different way by saying "so many out of so many were this." Sometimes that makes percentages more visible.

By Sarah Barchus

The hearing for the American soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians on a shooting spree began Monday, the Cable News Network reported.

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, 39, is at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state for an Article 32 hearing, which will determine if there is enough evidence to take the case to a full-court martial, the New York Times reported.

Bales is charged with six counts of premeditated murder, six counts of attempted murder and seven counts of assault, as well as illicit use of alcohol and steroids, CNN reported. In one of the worst criminal cases in decades, if Bales is convicted, he could face the death penalty, the New York Times reported.

One of the first witnesses, Cpl. David Godwin, said that he drank a few beers with Bales and another soldier while watching "Man on Fire," the night of the killings, the New York Times reported. Godwin said they drank moderately and didn't get drunk, CNN reported.

Another witness, Sgt. McLaughlin, said Bales woke him up at 2 a.m. and said that he had "shot some people up in a nearby village," CNN reported. McLaughlin said he didn't believe Bales and told him to go back to bed. Bales said he would be back at 5 a.m.

Lt. Col. Joseph Morse, the Army prosecutor, said that when Bales returned to the Army post in Kandahar Province in blood-soaked clothes, "he was lucid, coherent and responsive," the New York Times reported.

Bales was taken into custody when he reappeared at 4:30 a.m., CNN reported.

One of Bales's attorneys, John Henry Browne, said that Bales suffered from post-traumatic stress after three deployments in Iraq and four in Afghanistan, the New York Times reported.

The hearing is expected to last up to two weeks. Witnesses from Afghanistan will be testify through teleconference, CNN reported.

By Sarah Barchus

A St. Paul man went on trial Monday for running over a 16-year-old girl by Harding High School and then attempting to drive away in July, the Star Tribune reported.

Carlos Viveros Colorado went on trial at the Ramsey County District Court on charges of criminal vehicular homicide and criminal vehicular injury, the Pioneer Press reported.

Colorado waived his right to a jury trial and Ramsey County District Judge John Van De North will deliver the verdict, the Star Tribune reported.

Clarisse Grime was waiting with her boyfriend Eduardo Vasquez Torres, 17, for the bus after summer school on July 5th when they heard a car coming toward them, the Pioneer Press reported.

"We looked back, and my instinct was to move. I think she was just in shock or something," Torres said, the Pioneer Press reported.

Colorado jumped out of the way, but the car hit Grime. Dr. Victor Froloff of the Ramsey County medical examiner's office said Grime died at the scene from traumatic head injuries, the Star Tribune reported.

Prosecutor Elizabeth Lamin said Colorado was speeding going east on Third Street toward Hazelwood when he crossed the centerline, hit a fire hydrant and a "no parking sign", and slid down the hill where Grime and Vazquez were sitting, the Pioneer Press reported.

Colorado's attorney, Alberto Miera, said that Colorado experienced numbness in his leg and arm and tried to hit the brake, but instead hit the gas and lost control of the car, the Star Tribune reported.

Torres, who was bruised from the incident, said he went over to the SUV where Colorado was revving the engine in his attempt to flee. Torres said Colorado didn't ask if he was ok and he didn't check on Grime, the Pioneer Press reported.

Miera said Colorado told officers about the numbness but was not taken to a hospital for evaluation, the Star Tribune reported.

Torres and other witnesses including St. Paul officer Mike Tharalson said they saw Colorado walking by the SUV without problems, the Star Tribune reported.

Testimonies continue Tuesday, the Star Tribune reported.

Molestation Charges against Wayzata businessman dropped

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By Sarah Barchus

Hennepin County prosecutors dropped molestation charges against Wayzata businessman William Franklin Wanner after a child refused to testify, the Pioneer Press reported.

In Dec. 2010, a woman said she saw Wanner molest a then 10-year-old girl at the Minneapolis club pool, the Pioneer Press reported. Wanner was charged with two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct in Jan. 2010, the Star Tribune reported.

The girl's attorney said Friday that the girl signed an affidavit denying that she was sexually abused, the Pioneer Press reported.

Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Darren Borg said that without the girl's testimony, there is not enough evidence to convict Wanner, the Star Tribune reported.

Borg said the court could order the girl to testify, but decided it was against the best interest of the child, the Pioneer Press reported.

The appellate court said in an Oct. 2011 opinion that they supported the trial court's decision to not admit earlier interviews with the girl because the police asked her "leading and arguably combative questions," the Pioneer Press reported.

Wanner has been free on a $500,000 bail since he was charged. He said that during that time his business, Wanner Industries, almost went under. He said he is angry he had to wait for three years, the Star Tribune reported.

"None of it needed to happen," he said. "Not from the beginning," the Star Tribune reported.

Coptic Christians in Egypt choose new Pope

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By Sarah Barchus

A blindfolded boy chose the new leader for Egypt's Coptic Christians Sunday, the Cable News Network reported.

Bishoy Girgis Mosad, six, drew Bishop Tawadros's name from a glass bowl containing two other candidates a counsel of top church leaders had deemed uncontroversial, the New York Times reported.

Bishop Tawadros will become the church's 118th pope, replacing Pope Shenouda III who died in March of renal failure, CNN reported.

Bishop Tawadros said he would not involve himself politically like Pope Shenouda III, who supported President Hosni Mubarak in order to gain privileges for the congregation, the New York Times reported.

"The most important thing is for the church to go back and live consistently within the spiritual boundaries because this is its main work, spiritual work," Bishop Tawadros said, the New York Times reported.

Egypt's Christian population has been under attack in recent years, CNN reported. During Egypt's revolution last year, sectarian violence saw its bloodiest episode in half a century when police killed two dozen Coptic demonstrators during a protest, the New York Times reported.

Generals blamed the Maspero massacre on the Copts, adding to the Copts's fear of persecution by the Muslim majorities, the New York Times reported.

Coptic Christians make up about 9 percent of the Egyptian population, according to U.S. estimates, CNN reported.

Bishop Tawadros emphasized the importance of "living with our brothers, the Muslims." He said, "Integrating in the society is a fundamental scriptural Christian trait, " the New York Times reported.

Tarek Samir, a sales manager leaving the cathedral after the selection of Bishop Tawadros, said, "there are moderate Muslims who live the same life we do, who go to work with us, who live together with us, and if I am in trouble they will help me," the New York Times reported.

Intellectuals, activists, and churchgoers said in recent interviews that Christians will have to work with Muslims to promote nonsectarian citizenship, the New York Times reported.

Obituary Conversation

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By Sarah Barchus

I contacted Jim Buchta at the Star Tribune, the reporter who wrote Gerhard Haukebo's obituary.

Buchta's covers real estate so I was curious about how he got the obituary assignment and about his writing approach.

I learned that the Star Tribune has a rotating "online shift" that essentially requires reporters to drop their beat for a week to cover breaking news and to write an obituary. Buchta was tipped off about Haukebo's death from the Star Tribune's obituary department after a student from one of Haukebo's language camps called the Tribune's editor.

Buchta wrote the story from a paid obituary write-up containing basic facts and from an interview with Haukebo's daughter. Buchta said his main goal in writing an obituary is to describe to the public who the deceased was, rather than just what they did. Buchta said the story needs the "nuts-and-bolts facts, but also color." He said that he began the obituary with an anecdote from Haukebo's childhood because it showed the beginnings Haukebo's passion, which would ultimately lead to the accomplishments that made him newsworthy.

Buchta doesn't write obituaries very often, but he said that when he does he tries to "switch it up" and keep the story from sounding like a paid obituary or a resume and avoid the "risk of the list" by talking to two or three people who knew the deceased personally.

Buchta said that he approaches these people by first introducing himself and sympathizing for their loss. He then says that the deceased sounded like an interesting person and that he would like to tell their story. Buchta said talking to people is usually the easiest part of the obituary-writing process, because people like to talk about loved ones and are often prepared to talk to reporters if the deceased was well know.

Buchta said the most challenging aspect of writing obituaries is giving readers a good sense of who the person was. He said that there is "so much more you can say" and that he usually has more material than he can use. I found this to be my challenge as well. Buchta said he decides what to include by thinking about what he would repeat to a friend or what "interesting tidbits" he remembers the next day from his research without referencing his notes.

Buchta hasn't encountered many obituary-writing ethical issues because he hasn't had to write many. However, he is familiar with the Star Tribune's policy that editors need to approve the omission of facts such as a controversial cause of death. He said reporters can't automatically abide by a family's request to exclude sensitive newsworthy material from the story. Similarly, if a reporter knows of significant criminal events, Buchta said that he or she needs to include the information, in a tactful way. He also pointed out that because people don't usually like to talk badly about a deceased person, minor negative details about his or her life usually don't surface.

Although obituaries are something the Star Tribune's reporters are required to write, Buchta said that he enjoys the assignment.

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