January 2010 Archives

Leads Analysis

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The lead on a Sunday Pioneer Press story about a Minneapolis police officer accused of holding up a bank is vague, at best.

Hoping to capture the readers' interest, reporter Frederick Melo leaves out important details from his opening paragraph, including what the story is about. Very little links the headline of the article to the lead paragraph.

The lead of this item does not find the main point or provide a summary of the article, which are two of the lead guidelines.

News elements that are present in the lead include who, although the person involved does not make this a newsworthy item, where, and when.

U.S. to Resume Emergency Medical Evacuations of Haiti

The White House announced that it will resume a United States military airlift of Haitian earthquake victims following a five-day suspension of the program.

The medevac flights from Haiti into the United States were put on hold Wednesday when Florida officials grew concerned that the international patients were overwhelming the state's hospitals, according to the New York Times.

The Washington Post reports that a majority of the hundreds of patients evacuated from the country for medical care were brought to Florida for treatment. As the flights resume this is unlikely to change, but the federal government has now agreed to help Florida cover the cost of care.

Dr. Arthur Fournier, a director for the University of Miami hospital in Haiti, told the Wall Street Journal that patients with serious injuries were in danger of dying if they weren't flown to better-equipped hospitals.

U.S. medical efforts are not limited to bringing patients into the country for treatment. The Wall Street Journal quotes the White House as saying that "U.S. personnel have seen nearly 23,000 patients in Haiti".

Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak and the Minneapolis city council announced intentions to file a Ramsey County "friend of the court" brief in support of limitations to Gov. Pawlenty's use of unallotment, reports the Star Tribune.

Late last year, the Ramsey County District Court ruled against Gov. Pawlenty in a lawsuit challenging his use of unallotment to eliminate the Renter's Credit tax refund and the Minnesota Supplemental Aid-Special Diet nutritional welfare program, reports the Daily Planet. Both programs benefited disabled Minnesotans.

The Star Tribune mentions that the case's presiding judge, Kathleen Gearin, based her decision on the separation of powers doctrine of the state's constitution.

Gov. Pawlenty has appealed the court's decision and the Minnesota Supreme Court will hear the case in March. The Daily Planet reports that the Supreme Court has the authority to overturn all of Gov. Pawlenty's unallotments if he loses his appeal.

President Obama Delivers First State of the Union Address

President Obama delivered his first State of the Union address Wednesday.

According to NPR, Obama's address was a call for the nation to "start anew", laying out plans to rebuild the economy and jumpstart the job market. He also pledged to lobby for the repeal of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell military policy and to keep fighting for health care overhaul.

The speech came at a time when Obama's approval ratings were dropping and voters were becoming more frustrated with Capitol Hill gridlock, says NPR. The President acknowledged these concerns and even admitted his own frustration with lawmakers.

In his speech, Obama conceded that it has been "one of the most difficult years in our history", and according to the Washington Post, it's been a hard year for Obama as well. Staff writer Eli Saslow says that this pressure was evident in the address and that the president seemed uncharacteristically frank and angry.

Republican Mike Parry Wins State Senate Seat

Republican Mike Parry won the Minnesota Senate District 26 seat in a special election Tuesday. He will be taking the place of current senator Dick Day.

The Star Tribune reported that Parry won with 43 percent of the vote to Democrat contender Jason Engbrecht's 36.5 percent. Independent Roy Srp received around 20 percent of the vote.

The Republican's have long controlled the southern Minnesota seat, says an Associated Press article.

The senator-elect's win came despite bad press surrounding recent Twitter posts calling President Obama a "Power Hungry Arrogant Black Man", according to the Daily Planet.

Parry told the Star Tribune that although he apologized earlier in the month for his posts, the voters only care about the state budget and job creation.

The Star Tribune added that Day is leaving the Senate to work as a lobbyist for gambling interests.

Thai Report: Intercepted North Korean Weapons Headed for Iran

A leaked copy of a Thai report submitted to the United Nations reports that the Thai government believes a shipment of North Korean weapons they seized in December was headed to Iran.

A Bloomberg article explained that although the confidential report was submitted to the United Nations Security Council naming Iran as the aircraft's destination, the Thai government insists that their investigation is ongoing.

A Thai spokesman told the New York Times that while they are almost certain that the weapons were meant for Iran, "We don't know exactly where the plane was going".

Thai authorities uncovered more than 35 tons of weapons after seizing the North Korean cargo plane, according to a Reuters report. All five crew members aboard were arrested.

Thomas Fuller and Choe Sang-Hun from the New York Times reported that the aircraft was searched after the Thai government received a security tip from American intelligence agencies.

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