October 14, 2007

On Press Conference

I read a press release from the white house of the president discussing free trade at a hotel in Miami and compared it to the coverage by VOA news. The coverage of the president's conference is pretty basic. The president went over how he thinks trade agreements with Columbia, Peru, and Panama would be really great, and the coverage provides his main points for his support. The reporter made the choice to report what the president said as fact, picking his strongest arguments for each country he discussed. The reporter also chose to include some voices of resistance and why they are against the agreements, which gives a nice balance to the article.

Native American Activist Dead

According to an AP article used by WCCO and CNN, Vernon Bellecourt, who fought against the use of Indian nicknames for sports teams as a longtime leader of the American Indian Movement, has died at age 75 of complications from pneumonia. He was a member of Minnesota's White Earth band and was an international spokesman for the AIM Grand Governing Council based in Minneapolis. Recently, Bellecourt was active in the fight against American Indian nicknames for sports teams as president of the National Coalition on Racism in Sports and Media. He was arrested in Cleveland during the 1997 World Series and again in 1998 during protests against the Cleveland Indians' mascot, Chief Wahoo. Charges were dropped the first time and he was never charged in the second case.

Suspect Arrest

Kare 11 reports that on Friday police arrested a suspect in the October 4th abduction and rape of a woman who was taken from the 38th Street light rail station in Minneapolis. They report the suspect as a 28-year-old Minneapolis man with no permanent address. According to WCCO the suspect is but 20 years old. They report that the 44-year-old Minneapolis woman was waiting by herself at the light rail station just before 2 a.m. Oct. 4, when a man walked up to her, threatened her with a gun and then took her to a nearby apartment. They credited police with saying the suspect robbed her, and brutally beat and raped her before letting her go.

California Tunnel Crash

ABC reported an accident took place in a tunnel in California that involved an estimated 15 big rigs and possibly one or more passenger cars. The pileup sent people fleeing for their lives from the flaming tunnel after at least five of the trucks burst into flames, and the fire spread to the others. They reported the accident took place in the southbound truck tunnel of Interstate 5, and began about 11 p.m. Friday when two big rigs collided on the rain-slickened highway about 30 miles north of downtown Los Angeles. As crashes continued throughout the tunnel, which is about an eighth of a mile long, five tractor-trailers burst into flames, and the fire quickly spread. According to the Press-Enterprise, Investigators determined that 28 commercial vehicles and one passenger vehicle were involved in the crash that killed two men and a child, and injured at least 10 people. They reported that officials hope to reopen the southbound lanes of the closed freeway by Tuesday morning, but they have been hampered by concern about how many repairs will have to be made for the tunnel to be safe.

Priest Playing Pretend

According to a widely used AP article a priest in Italy was caught on hidden camera making advances to a young man and said in an interview published Sunday that he is not gay and was only pretending to be gay as part of his work. Monsignor Tommaso Stenico said he frequented online gay chat rooms and met with gay men as part of his work as a psychoanalyst. He claims he pretended to be gay in order to gather information about "those who damage the image of the Church with homosexual activity."

Israeli Airstrike

It came to light Sunday that Israel bombed an unused military building that held a partially built nuclear reactor, years away from completion, early in September, according to CNN. In the weeks after the attack, U.S. officials said the attack was aimed either at a nuclear or missile facility that Syria operated jointly with North Korea. Reuters reported the reactor was apparently modeled on one in North Korea used for stockpiling nuclear weapons fuel. Israel confirmed earlier this month it had carried out an air strike on Syria, but the two countries have given little information on the target.
CNN reported that Israel has been extremely secretive about the affair. It only recently relaxed censorship to allow Israel-based journalists to report that Israeli aircraft attacked a military target deep inside Syria.

October 7, 2007

Save the Squirrels

The NY Times reported that Britain is having trouble keeping up its red squirrel population. The animal is apparently iconic for some people there, and there are efforts to keep the population up. For instance, deliberately killing a red squirrel or disturbing its nest, called a drey, is a crime, and organizations are forming in support of the squirrels.

Blackwater Shootings Deliberately Uprovoked

The NY Times reported that an Iraqi government inquiry found employees of the American security company Blackwater USA shot unprovoked at Iraqi civilians at a downtown traffic circle three weeks ago, an episode that killed 17 people and wounded more than 20 others. Reuters reported that on Sunday Iraq said security guards from the U.S. firm Blackwater deliberately killed 17 Iraqis in last month's shooting incident in Baghdad and that it would take legal steps against them.

Twin Cities Marathon

Ukrainian Mykola Antonenko from Ukraine won the men's race at the Twin Cities Marathon Sunday, and Svetlana Ponomarenko from Russia won the women's, according to USA Today. Antonenko, who placed second in the race in 2004, had a time of 2 hours, 13 minutes, 54 seconds, which was more than 6 minutes faster than second-place Joseph Mutinda. It was Ponomarenko's first marathon win, with a winning time of 2:34:09. According to WCCO, the front pack consisted of all Kenyan runners, besides Antonenko. The top American male runners avoided running the full-marathon because of the Olympic Marathon Trials in New York next month. They instead competed in the 10-mile race, which was won by Abdi Abdirahman.

Missing Girl

Police are looking for 17-year-old Lindsey Marisa Lease, reported missing by her parents Sunday, according to Fox Twin Cities. She's from Worthington, MN. Police are looking for a vehicle believed to be involved in this case, a 1999 GMC K-15 Suburban, Minnesota license plate KCR 031. According to WCCO Lease is believed to be with Sonny Syhavong, 17, who Lease currently has an order for protection against. They report the girl's car was located in Worthington with a window broken out, and blood was found on the interior of the car. Anyone with information in the case is asked to contact the Worthington Police Department at (507) 372-2136.

shooting spree

Six people are dead and one is in critical condition in Crandon, WI after a 20-year-old deputy officer shot them early Sunday morning, according to a Fox Twin Cities report. The incident took place at the apartment of the shooter's ex-girlfriend. Neighbors said they heard shots at 3 a.m. Two of the dead were still in high school and four were recent graduates. One of the victims is the shooter's ex-girlfriend, another was identified by her mother as 14-year-old Lindsey Stahl. The shooter is also dead, having been shot by a sniper. The Times from the UK reported the gunman as Tyler Peterson, 20, a Forest County Sheriff’s Department Deputy. According to the report the town had been in “lockdown? Sunday morning, with residents forbidden to leave their homes as police searched for the suspect. But last night several parents still had not been notified of the deaths. They go on to give a little background info on Crandon, and touch on recent gun violence in the U.S. and how it doesn't seem to be going away.

September 30, 2007

On Structure

CNN has an article that goes over Iran's parliament voting to label the CIA and U.S. Army as 'terrorist' groups. The article states that main point to the story in the lead and then gives reasons why IRNA, the country's state-run news agency and the parliament. The article then moves to the U.S. reaction to the labeling. It sums things up with some background information on the situation and the relationship between the United States and Iran. It also suggests the Iranian lawmakers' condemnation was in apparent retaliation for the U.S. Senate's resolution Wednesday requesting that the United States designate Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, or Quds Force, as a foreign terrorist organization. This way of organizing and summarizing is effective. They stated the news, then stated reaction to it, and then stated reasons why, background info, and conveyed things that further the story and make it more complete.

U.N. envoy in Myanmar

According to CNN United Nations envoy Ibrahim Gambari met Sunday with Myanmar's detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi in an effort to quell recent tensions between the country's military leaders and protesters. The hour-long meeting took place in the Myanmar city of Yangon. No other details were released.Suu Kyi is under house arrest and has been barred by the government from meeting with foreigners, which made the meeting with the envoy completely unexpected. According to an AP article the U.N. envoy failed to see either the junta leader, who controls the country, or his deputy in his scheduled meetings. The diplomat was returning late Sunday to the military government's headquarters for a possible third meeting. The U.N. envoy planned to tell the junta leader "about the international outrage over what has happened and will urge him to talk with various people and try to resolve the problems peacefully," Shari Villarosa, charge d'affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Yangon, told CNN.

Bush and Global Warming

The president gave a speech on climate change and pollution at a U.S. lead conference of major economic powers on Friday. The Washington Post reports the president claimed he takes the threat of climate change seriously and vowed that the United States "will do its part" to reduce the greenhouse gases that are warming the planet. This comes after years of him being on the defensive and expressing doubt about global warming. According to the WP Bush found himself largely isolated at a meeting that he had organized to address the issue, lambasted by foreign officials, U.S. lawmakers and environmental activists who saw his effort as more show than substance. According to the LA Times the president insisted on voluntary goals for reducing pollution levels, which he said could be met largely through new technology that would create "an age of clean energy." Critics of his stance disagree and say some form of mandatory limit on emissions is needed. The LA Times reports the president set a two-year deadline for nations at the conference to reach a consensus on how to cut emissions, a schedule that punts the decision to his successor.

Sprint Nextel vs MN

Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson accused Sprint Nextel Corp. of extending customer contracts without the informed consent of those customers in a lawsuit filed Thursday. WCCO reports the Attorney General filed the suit based on hundreds of complaints from Minnesota residents, including some who said they were threatened with $200 cancellation fees for trying to get out of contracts they thought had already expired. Aside from barring certain practices, Swanson is seeking restitution for victims and civil penalties of up to $25,000 per incident. According to Fudzilla Swanson claims that Sprint Nextel violated the Minnesota Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Trade Practices Act.