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December 9, 2007

Minnesota woman killed in Colorado shooting

A Minnesota woman and an Alaska man were killed in a shooting in a Colorado missionary training center.

12 hours later and 65 miles away, another man was shot and killed at a Colorado Springs megachurch, reported the Star Tribune. Police are investigating whether the incidents were connected.

The gunman who killed the Minnesota woman, entered the missionary center asking to spend the night, the Pioneer Press said. When he was told he could not stay, he opened fire. He is still missing.

The stories were very similar. They used a lot of the same quotes.

Potential contestants wait in cold line for Deal or No Deal auditions

Despite subzero temperatures, over 8,000 waited in line outside Denny Hecker's Inver Grove Heights car dealership to try out for NBC's "Deal or No Deal."

Potential contestants started lining up before dawn, bundled in warm clothing, waiting for hours for their chance to win $1 million, reported the Star Tribune.

People had 30 seconds to make themselves stand out among the crowds, the Pioneer Press said. Some did the chicken dance, some wore costumes, others just talked about all the good things they'd do with the money.

The Pioneer Press story was a little longer and spent more time talking to the people in line.

C.I.A. destroyed interrogation tapes

The C.I.A. destroyed two interrogation tapes, one featuring terrorist suspect Abu Zubaydah.

The videotapes show terrorism suspects being subjected to harsh interrogation techniques, reported the New York Times. The C.I.A. said they destroyed the tapes because they had no intelligence value and could potentially reveal the identities of operatives. One official said that there are many documents that could reveal operatives' identities, but this one was probably destroyed because of the legal implications of the techniques used.

According to the Washington Post, the C.I.A. did not release the tapes to the federal judge of terrorism suspect Zacarias Moussaoui or to the 9/11 commission, both of which requested information of that nature. C.I.A. officials said they didn't judge the tapes to be valuable to those cases.

The two stories were very similar. The New York Times story was better organized and easier to read.

9 killed in Omaha mall shooting

A 19-year-old man shot and killed eight people and himself in an Omaha mall Wednesday. Five other people were injured.

The shooter, Robert Hawkins, was a troubled man who was living with a friend's family after being kicked out of his home, the AP as printed in the Washington Post said. He had recently been fired from his job at McDonald's and broken up with his girlfriend.

Hawkins entered the Von Maur department store with an assault rifle and began shooting employees and customers, the New York Times reported. Witnesses described a scene of panic.

The New York Times spent more time on what the witnesses had to say, while the AP talked more about the shooter's background.

Iran abandoned nuclear weapons program in 2003

According to a new National Intelligence Estimate, Iran halted it's nuclear arms program in 2003.

The report, a consensus of the major intelligence bureaus, said that they were "highly confident" that the arms program was shut down in 2003 and "moderately confident" that it remains shut down, the New York Times reported. The report said that Iran probably wouldn't be able to produce a nuclear weapon until 2013.

The Bush administration's reaction indicates that there will probably not be a huge change in policy as a result of this information, despite the fact that it contradicts previous intelligence, the BBC said. However it may complicate efforts to pass a U.N. Security Council Resolution imposing sanctions on Iran.

The two stories were similar, since they were both first reports of the intelligence. The BBC story was shorter and more to the point, as they tend to be, and it included information about how this would affect U.N. processes.

December 2, 2007

Refinery Worker's Body Found

The body of a missing oil refinery worker was found today.

The Pioneer Press reported that Nicholas Gunter, 29, went missing yesterday at 8:30 a.m. after a fire broke out at the Marathon Petroleum refinery where he worked. 70 employees, firefighters and volunteers searched for him.

Gunter's body was found at 1:40 p.m. today inside the fuel tank that caught fire, the Star Tribune said. He was most likely sitting on top of it, checking the gauges, when it caught fire.

The two articles were very similar. The Star Tribune had a few more details than the Pioneer Press.

Snow

Guess what? It snowed this weekend.

The Star Tribune reported that Minnesota is buried in 2 to 8 inches of snow, depending on where you are. Despite the 338 traffic accidents, the people the paper talked to seemed happy about the snow.

The Pioneer Press reported that the snow did not stop people from participating in Grand Avenue's Grand Meander or Nicollet Avenue's Santa Run.

Both papers spent a lot of time focusing on how much people were enjoying the snow. That's biased. What about the people whose cars got stuck or who don't particularly enjoy shoveling?

L.A. Riders will have to Pay

The Los Angeles transit system, which has long functioned on the honor system, will add turnstyles to prevent customers from riding free.

The Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority voted 11-1 last week to add ticket booths to the subway and light rail systems, the New York Times reported. It could cost up to $30 million to install and $1 million a year after that, but is projected to save $6.77 million a year.

According to the L.A. Times, riders had mixed reactions. Some said they hardly ever see anyone boarding without paying, and they see the endeavor as a waste of money. Others say people do it all the time, and the plan is necessary. Around 5% of riders do not pay.

The L.A. Times story had more quotes and spent more time on resident reactions. It also was more specific about how many people weren't paying.

Russia Votes

Partial parliamentary election results show that Russian President Vladmir Putin's party, United Russia, won the majority of seats.

According to the BBC, United Russia has 63 percent of the vote so far. 80 percent of the ballots have been counted. There were a number of reports of fraud, although party officials asserted that they were minor.

The New York Times reported that the success of the party will likely benefit Putin, who is unable to run for reelection next spring. Instead, he may attempt to become prime minister.

The New York Times story mostly focused on Putin and what the election means for him. The BBC talked about Putin, but only briefly at the end.

Venezuela Votes

Venezuelans cast their votes Sunday on whether President Hugo Chavez's reforms will go into effect.

The BBC reported that suggested reforms include indefinitely extending Chavez's right to run for reelection, reducing the work day to six hours, putting the Central Bank in Chavez's control and reducing the voting age.

According to the New York Times, opposition groups have found a common cause in encouraging voters to vote against Chavez.

The New York Times article seemed to be more openly anti-Chavez. There was a lot more background information and most of it was negative. It was telling that the BBC reported a huge voter turnout while the New York Times focused on areas where they said turnout was low.