April 2012 Archives

ANALYSIS

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Notable

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International

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National

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LOCAL

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Local

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Notable

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Analysis

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International

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National

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Local 2

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Local 1

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AT&T union contracts expire; strikes averted

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About 40,000 AT&T landline workers are staying on the job this week without a contract, their union said Sunday according to the Washington Post.

According to the Post, workers' contracts expired over the weekend, raising the possibility of a strike, but the Communications Workers of America and AT&T Inc. said that they'll keep working on a new deal.

CWA spokeswoman Candice Johnson said union representatives met with AT&T on Sunday after talks ended late on Saturday, according to the Post. She doesn't know how long it will take to reach an agreement, the Post said.

The Post said the employees will continue to receive the same wages and benefits as before, meanwhile. If negotiations break down, they still have the option to call for a walkout, the Post said.

AT&T Inc., which is based in Dallas, is the country's largest employer of unionized workers and about 140,000 of its 256,000 employees are union members, according to the Post.

Two college students drown in Illinois

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Two college students from the Chicago-area drowned early Saturday morning after their car was driven into a Southern Illinois lake, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Marielle A. Carson, 20, of Chicago, and Latisha A.P. Ray, 21, Carbondale, IL, were both declared dead on the scene after the vehicle in which they were riding was pulled from Cedar Lake about 7 a.m. Saturday, according to a press release from Jackson County Coroner Thomas Kupferer the Tribune said.

The press release said the two were attending college in the area - John A. Logan College in Carterville and Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, according to the Tribune.

According to the release, Carbondale police received a 911 call about 3:18 a.m. Friday reporting that a car with 5 occupants and driven by Carson had been submerged in Cedar Lake after driving off a boat launch area, the Tribune said. Three passengers, a male and two females, had escaped from the vehicle before it was fully underwater, but the two individuals in the front seat hadn't been able to get out and may have drowned, according to the Tribune.

Carbondale police, the Jackson County Ambulance Service and the Carbondale Fire Department responded and a dive team from Union County was called in as well, the Tribune said. The vehicle was found about 7 a.m. and was removed from the lake. Carson and Ray were still inside, the release said according to the Tribune.

The Tribune said the coroner's preliminary report is that the two drowned and toxicology reports are pending.

Target Field tobacco ban exempts players

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Target Field may go completely tobacco-free for fans due to a proposed ban at the Twins ballpark, but it will not cover the players, according to the Star Tribune.

The Minnesota Ballpark Authority, which oversees Target Field, officially announced the new policy at its quarterly meeting Friday.

Twins spokesman Kevin Smith said Friday that the collective bargaining agreement under which players operate doesn't explicitly bar them from smoking or using tobacco while playing, according to the Tribune.

However, the Tribune said players are obligated, to keep their tobacco use to themselves, he said. They can't be seen smoking on TV, and even the outline of a jar of snuff in a player's pocket cannot be seen, Smith said.

According to the the Tribune, the Twins have a no-reentry rule, meaning that smokers who want to leave for a smoke will not be allowed back in. The smoking ban applies to any event at Target Field, whether it's a concert or a private gathering such as a wedding, the Tribune said.

Light-rail overnight work approved

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The St. Paul City Council has approved overnight work for construction of the Central Corridor light-rail transit line along University Avenue and Robert Street, according to the Pioneer Press.

The council issued a sound-level variance for work along University Avenue from Emerald Street to Hamline Avenue, from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m., on 20 occasions from April to July 15, according to the Press.

The Press said work will be limited to dump trucks, backhoes and compactors and should not include jack-hammering, according to the application from the Metropolitan Council.

According to the Press, the second sound-level variance is for overnight work related to the Cedar Bridge. The work area extends along Robert Street starting at University Avenue to 12th Street East, 12th Street East to Cedar Street, and Cedar Street East to 11th Street, from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. on 25 dates, the Press said. The application indicates that all loud activities such as jack-hammering should be performed during the day, according to the Press.

Indian couple sued after locking maid in home

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Child welfare officials filed a suit on March 30 against a couple whose 13-year-old domestic worker was found locked in their house for several days without food, according to the L.A. Times.

According to the Times, the girl, who was not identified, told local television reporters her food ran out soon after the family left for a vacation in Bangkok. The doors and windows of the house were sealed and difficult to pry open. The girl eventually opened a window and called for help, which got the attention of neighbors, the Times said.

The Times said she was rescued from the third floor of the home, taken in for a medical examination and then to a shelter.

The girl said her employers, who are both doctors, cut her and pulled out clumps of her hair as punishment according to the Times.

A.K. Ojha, deputy police commissioner for southwest Delhi, confirmed that the girl had several bruises that suggested she had been beaten regularly, the Times said. He said the police were starting an investigation and that the whereabouts of the employers were unknown.

According to police and charity workers, the girl was brought to Delhi and sold to a placement agency, which sent her to the couple's house a year ago, the Times said.

According to the TImes, "statistics on the number of underage domestic workers in India are unavailable, but in a recent survey, Save The Children India found 50,000 in Kolkata alone and estimated that there are 2 million to 3 million nationwide."

Activists and labor experts say the exploitation of domestic workers is often driven less by money than by issues of caste or a desire to feel powerful, according to the Times.

Analysis: Numbers

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In an L.A. Times. story regarding Oprah's not-so-successful OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) television channel, the author uses numbers in a few ways:

1. OWN is predicted to lose $142.9 million this year due to the lack of its success.
2. OWN has averaged about 259,000 prime time viewers since the channel's debut weekend.
3. OWN fired 20% of its workforce last week in order to cut spending to keep the channel going.

The numbers aren't too overwhelming, and they are explained pretty clearly. I'm not sure if the author used math to tell the story more effectively, but it could definitely be possible. Out of the three numbers listed above, the first and the second were clearly attributed, but as for the last number, I couldn't find a source, which is not a good thing.

To Mitt Romney, the economy is in a shambles. To fellow Republican Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin, it is a glowing success according to the Chicago Tribune.

According to the Tribune, Romney and Walker offered clashing portraits of the economy at a Waukesha County GOP dinner on Saturday.

Walker is facing a June recall vote which was sparked by his fight with unions of government workers. In his speech, he described himself as a governor whose fiscal restraint has turned Wisconsin's economy around, according to the Tribune.

Moments later, Romney stepped onto the same stage and gave a more bleak description of America's economy, the Tribune said.

The Tribune said Romney acknowledged the nation's recent job gains, but told the crowd to keep in mind that Obama's main economic stimulus measure "expired three years ago," which was incorrect.

According to the Tribune, Wisconsin's unemployment rate is 6.9% which is down from its 9.2% peak in January 2010 and below the 8.3% national rate, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Although Wisconsin's recovery has been uneven, with a slight drop in private-sector jobs since Walker took office in January 2011 according to the Tribune.

According to the Tribune, the nation lost nearly 4.5 million during the year before Obama's inauguration, and an additional 4.3 million during Obama's first year in office. Since February 2010, the country has regained 3.5 million jobs.

Yemen base attacked by militants

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Militants linked to Al Qaeda made a surprise attack on an army base in southern Yemen on Saturday, military officials said, according to the New York Times.

The clashes that were set off left 30 dead before airstrikes forced the militants to retreat, according to the Times.

The Times said army officials said the militants attacked a base in the town of Al Milah in Lahj Province. The town is close to Abyan Province, a Qaeda stronghold.

The army fought back, and by the time fighter jets were called in and forced the militants to retreat, 17 soldiers and 13 militants were dead, according to the Times.

The Times said Al Qaeda's branch in Yemen has exploited the political and security turmoil related to the country's yearlong uprising, managing to take control of large areas in the south and staging increasingly bold attacks on the military.

The United States appears to be getting more and more involved in fighting Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, as the Yemeni branch is known, the Times said. The group is believed to have plotted two failed attacks on American soil.

1940 census records to be released Monday

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Records being released by the U.S. National Archives online after 72 years of confidentiality expires, according to the Washington Post.

According to the Post, more than 21 million people who are alive in the U.S. and Puerto Rico were recorded in the 16th federal decennial census.

Census records include names, addresses and, in the case of the 1940 census, income and employment information, the Post said.

Access to the records will be available to anyone on the Internet, and free of charge. The Post said while a name index may not be immediately available to search, thousands of researchers across the country are expected to go through the digitized records for details on 132 million people this week.

Since 1942, the National Archives has made available records from past censuses every decade, according to the Post. However, some privacy advocates have opposed releasing such large amounts of personal data about living people.

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This page is an archive of entries from April 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

March 2012 is the previous archive.

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