December 9, 2007

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.

December 2, 2007

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.

November 18, 2007

Over 2,000 Killed in Bangladesh Cyclone

Cyclone Sidr, which ravaged Bangladesh Thursday, resulted in the deaths of over 2,000 people.

According to Reuters as printed in the New York Times, Bangladesh's disaster ministry registered 2,300 dead. The Red Crescent Society, however, thought the death count could reach up to 10,000, because of the many areas still inaccessible.

The BBC reported that vital food sources were also destroyed. International aid groups are scrambling to send help.

The BBC and Reuters had similar stories that were organized slightly differently. The Reuters story included information about the U.S.'s reaction since it is a national wire service.

November 11, 2007

Italian Soccer Fan Killed by Police

Gabriele Sandri, a 26-year-old disc jockey and fan of Italy's Lazio soccer team, was shot by police who were attempting to control crowds.

According to ESPN the incident occured nine months after a policeman was killed trying to control crowds during a soccer game. The death led to increased security measures at games.

In response, soccer fans across Italy protested, reported the BBC. Three matches were cancelled. The worst of the rioting was in Milan where armed fans attacked a police barracks and the Italian Olympic Commitee headquarters.

The ESPN story mostly focused on the shooting, what police were saying and which games were cancelled. The BBC focused on fans' reactions.

October 28, 2007

Former first lady wins Argentine presidency

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner will replace her husband as president of Argentina. The first woman president of Argentina was voted into office by 46%.

According to the BBC, many were surprised that Kirchner's husband did not run for another term. Mrs. Kirchner's campaign was largely based on continuing the policies of her husband, which many credit for rehabilitating the country's economy.

The Washington Post reported that Kirchner was a senator for three terms. In her first terms she was known as being an especially active legislator, but some accuse her of changing some of her positions after her husband became president.

The Washington Post story focused more on Kirchner as a person, where the BBC seemed to focus more on the politics of the election.

October 21, 2007

Maine Middle School Clinic Will Offer the Pill

A middle school in Portland, Maine made the controversial decision to offer free contraceptive pills at its in-school clinic.

Many are concerned that the action encourages sexual activity in children, reported the Associated Press as printed in the Washington Post. Students at the middle school are between the ages of 11 and 13.

Some parents are warily accepting of the idea. The New York Times quoted two mothers as saying that it's not good that 13-year-olds are having sex, but it does happen, and it should be safe.

The Associated Press story broke the news. It quoted a lot of official sources. The New York Times quoted more unofficial sources, like parents and students.

October 14, 2007

Al Gore and UN Climate Change Panel Share Nobel Peace Prize

Al Gore and the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Al Gore won for his role in creating public awareness of global warming with the film "An Inconvenient Truth." The UN panel includes a large number of scientists who meticulously research climate change and its causes, reported the New York Times.

The award recipients point to a trend in the Nobel Peace Prize in "redefining the potential sources of conflict and threats to peace," reported the BBC.

The New York Times article focused more on Al Gore than the BBC. It wasn't until about halfway through the article that an explanation of what the UN panel does appeared. The BBC focused first on the panel and then on Al Gore. The Times is a U.S. publication so Al Gore is of more interest to the readers.

October 4, 2007

Secret Document Reveals Government Endorsement of Torture

Despite declarations by the Justice Department that torture is "abhorrent" and not tolerated under U.S. law, a secret document was discovered endorsing the use of certain harsh interrogation techniques.

The New York Times uncovered the document that okayed tactics such as head slapping, frigid temperatures, and simulated drowning. Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales approved this policy and found it to be within the law.

According to the Washington Post, the White House has acknowledged the existence of this document, but is sticking to the idea that it did not conflict with legislation barring "cruel, inhuman, and degrading" practices.

The House Judiciary Commitee plans to call Steven Bradbury, the man who signed the document, to a hearing, the Washington post reported.

The New York Times broke this story, so it was much longer and more in depth than the Washington Post. The Washington Post story was a follow-up and explained the events immediately following the breaking of the news.

September 30, 2007

Ecuador Chooses New Assembly

Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa is hoping to dissolve Congress by creating a constituent assembly to write a new charter for the country.

Correa says he wants to diminish the influence of traditional parties and cut down on corruption, but opponents say his true goal is to increase his presidential power, said BBC News.

The assembly would have the power to dismiss any elected official, said the Associated Press.

According to the BBC, the voting system has left many Ecuadorians confused or undecided. The ballot lists around 3,200 candidates, including beauty queens, a masked crime fighter called The Punisher, and a monk who urges people to take from the rich and give to the poor.

Correa considers himself a friend of Hugo Chavez. The assembly could be a step towards socialism, said the AP.

The BBC News story was shorter than the AP's. I was a little confused about what the constituent assembly was after reading the BBC's story. It wasn't until I read the more detailed AP story that I really understood how it would work.

September 24, 2007

Blackwater USA Under Investigation

The Iraqi and United States governments are setting up a joint inquiry into the shooting deaths of 11 Iraqis at the hands of Blackwater, USA, a private security company.

The Iraqi government decided not to expel Blackwater from the country because of the potential "security vacuum" that could result, said Reuters as reported in the Washington Post.

According to the New York Times, Blackwater USA is also being investigated for up to seven other offenses involving questionable tactics. Little information has been released regarding what actually happened to cause the company to open fire.

The Reuters article was more up to date than the New York Times article. The New York Times article was written without the knowledge that the Iraqi government would not be ousting Blackwater. The New York Times article also contained a lot more background information.

September 17, 2007

Prisons Ban Books

All religious books not on a list of approved titles have been banned from prison libraries by the Bureau of Prisons.

According to the New York Times, religious resources have been limited to 150 approved titles for each of 20 major religions. The decision was based on a recommendation by the Justice Department listing steps for prisons to take in order to avoid becoming militant religious groups' training grounds.

Instead of compiling a list of banned titles, a limited list of approved titles was created. Experts say it's unclear why some titles were included and others were not. Thousands of books were removed from the shelves of prisons.

The Washington Post said that this potentially violates the limited rights of prisoners and limits one of prisoners few sources of hope: religion.

The Washington Post article was written by a columnist reacting to the New York Times article. Accordingly, the New York Times piece was more fact based and left opinion out.