June 2012 Archives

Use of Sources

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The report from the New York Times on a Honduran drug raid was very efficient at incorporating sources and attribution. Most of the specific facts and information on the incident was sourced from spokespeople of the American Embassy, and the Drug Enforcement Agency. No specific records were listed. Some quotes were used, but most of the information was paraphrased.

As the article began to describe relevant background information and details, links were provided to other articles and sources describing U.S. involvement in Honduran drug trafficking. There was even a link to a surveillance video showing the start of a similar incident.

Overall, the attributions were effective and spread out evenly throughout the article. The links were an interesting approach, and I think they ultimately added to the depth of information given to readers. Providing links also prevented the author from having to specifically attribute every fact he listed in regards to the background of the incident.

Snowflakes on Mars

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Researchers found that snowflakes on Mars are about the size of a human red blood cell, the Christian Science Monitor reported.

Two spacecrafts orbiting mars took observations used by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to determine the size and composition of these tiny flakes.

Unlike earth, snowflakes on Mars are made of C02 rather than water, Discovery News reported. Mars atmosphere is mainly made out of carbon dioxide, and these snowflakes are essentially small pieces of dry ice.

Data from NASA spacecrafts also showed that clouds of snow cover the planet's poles, and reach farther down during the winter months. This new information could help researchers learn more about heat distribution on Mars, as well as the composition of the planet's dust particles.

Drug Related Violence Escalates in Honduras

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A Honduran man was shot and killed Saturday by an American D.E.A. agent in a drug raid, the New York Times reported.

United States government agents tracked an aircraft suspected of smuggling drugs from South America near the village of Ahuas, Honduras.

Around 360 kilograms of cocaine and several weapons were confiscated, and four suspects were arrested. As a fifth suspect reached for his handgun, he was shot and killed instantly by a D.E.A. agent who claimed he shot the man in self-defense.

The frequency of drug raids turned violent in Latin America had increased significantly since the U.S. military built several operating bases in remote areas of Honduras last year. The U.S. government worked with local officials in most Central American raids, but this incident marked the first time U.S. officials said an American agent was responsible for a suspect's death.

A raid that took place in the same region on May 11 left four innocent bystanders dead when helicopters mistakenly fired at suspects, the Washington Post reported. The U.S. has faced criticism for over involvement in the region resulting in violations of Honduran national sovereignty.

City of St. Paul Opposed to Photo ID Amendment

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A decision by the Minnesota Supreme Court June 15 will allow numerous groups to be involved in a lawsuit challenging an amendment to the constitution requiring voters to show a photo ID, the Star Tribune reported.

The Republican controlled Legislature brought the bill to the ballot, and a lawsuit filed by the League of Women Voters and groups opposed to the policy contended that the wording of the amendment does not accurately reflect the changes that would take if passed.

The Supreme Court ruling allowed for the House and Senate, as well as other groups and organizations to take part in the lawsuit and oral arguments.

The City of St. Paul has stepped in as an opposing party, and claimed that the amendment is unconstitutional. The City of St. Paul also claimed that the Legislature is not legally able to put the amendment on the ballot, because Gov. Mark Dayton has vetoed the part of the bill designating the amendment a title and ballot question.

According to the Department of Vehicle Services, 140,000 Minnesotans who are registered and eligible to vote do not have state issued photo ID, the Echo Press reported.

Duluth Faced with Expensive Clean-up from Flooding

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Duluth officials said the massive flood that hit June 19 is the worst in the history of the city, Chicago Tribune reported. The mayor of Duluth estimated that the storm has cost between 50 and 80 million dollars in damage to public infrastructure.

The flooding reached up to 10 inches in some areas, and caused large sinkholes as well as damage to dozens of local roads. No casualties have been reported, but hundreds were forced to evacuate from their homes, and several zoo animals were drowned.

Areas of Duluth and surrounding neighborhoods are gradually returning to normal, but there is still a large amount of standing water and sewage overflow, officials said.

Rainfall and thunderstorms in northwestern Wisconsin and the Minnesota Arrowhead areas were recorded between June 17 and June 19. As a cold front and thunderstorms moved towards Minnesota, soil in Duluth was saturated by rainfall which created perfect conditions for the runoff event that occurred in Duluth.

The Duluth NWS was able to accurately record precipitation levels, and used new radar technology to record accumulation levels. According to researchers, the flood fits within overall trends of climate change being recorded in Minnesota, but cannot be credibly linked to a specific cause, Minnesota Public Radio reported.

Higher Education Requirements for Nurses

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Hundreds of hospitals around the U.S. have begun to require that their nurses have at least a 4-year-degree, the New York Times reported. Only a small percentage of the nation's hospitals are participating in the trend, primarily in teaching hospitals in metropolitan areas, but numbers are climbing.

Community College programs offer a traditional path to becoming a Registered Nurse, but with these tighter requirements, over 600 colleges have opened bachelor degree programs in Nursing.

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, online enrollment options have further contributed to a huge increase in nursing students over the past decade.

A report from Georgetown's Center of Education predicted that the U.S. healthcare industry will need to increase by 30% and create close to 3 million jobs in the next decade, an article in Forbes reported.

According to the Georgetown report, currently 40% of staff nurses have a bachelor's degree, and 80% of all nurses have an associate degree, but these numbers are projected to increase. The demand for higher postsecondary education is likely to affect the healthcare industry as a whole, Forbes reported.

Media Outlets in Iraq Ordered to Shut Down

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Iraqi officials were given orders to close down numerous local and international media outlets throughout the nation, Russia Today reported.

Iraq's Communications and Media Commission reportedly issued an official document to the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory requiring that 44 media outlets be closed.

A statement by the Society for Defense of Press Freedom claimed the law is unconstitutional, and is in violation with international laws and regulations agreed to by the Iraqi government. A lawsuit against the Iraqi government opposing the law was filed by a group of journalists, demanding the legislation be overturned.

Most of the outlets asked to be shut down are local, but the news sources BBC and Voice of America have been targeted as well, CBS News reported. Iraq's Media Commission said it will only require unlicensed outlets to be shut down; yet U.S.-based Radio Sawa has also been asked to close despite having a license and operating under all Iraqi regulations.

No media closures have been forced at this point, but the future of the law remains uncertain.

A large faith summit held June 7, 2012 brought together numerous religious congregations not in favor of banning same-sex marriage in the Minnesota constitution, Minnesota Public Radio reported.

An amendment on the November ballot that would amend the Minnesota constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman, and would prevent future legislation from overturning the law has generated a lot of controversy throughout the state.

Over 200 clergy members were expected to come to a faith summit in Minneapolis organized by the religious group Minnesotans United for All Families. Minnesotans United for All Families is against the amendment, and has the support of almost 90 faith members.

Even large corporations have gotten into the marriage debate, and General Mills released a statement claiming it is against the ban on same-sex marriage, CBS Minnesota reported.

This statement generated a lot of criticism from conservative groups, including Minnesota for Marriage, a religious group in support of the amendment. However, General Mills also received a positive attention and approval of its statement, and over 800 people have signed a petition intended to thank the corporation for its support.

Land near Grand Rapids Minnesota will be the site of a ten year federal research project funded by the U.S. Department of Energy studying the effects of global warming, Minnesota Public Radio reported.

Beginning in the fall of 2012, scientists will begin building warming chambers that will be used to expose soil and plants to artificially raised temperatures and carbon dioxide levels. The way these controlled ecosystems react to environmental changes over ten will offer scientists insight into what more advanced stages of global warming might look like.

Researchers found bogs to be an ideal environment for this study because peatland soil contains a high percentage of carbon and greenhouse gasses that could speed up the effects of global warming when released.

A study by the Climate Central non-profit showed that Minnesota's average low temperatures have increased more than any other state, CityPages reported. Scientists claimed studies on climate change are relevant to the rest of the nation as well, since average temperatures have also increased nation-wide.

Scientists hope the bogland study will draw attention and support from the scientific community, as they claimed it is a ground breaking way of studying climate change and global warming.

Obama's Immigration Legislation

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New legislation announced by Obama will allow for young undocumented immigrants to receive work permits and reside in the U.S. legally, the New York Times reports.

Immigrants who arrived in the nation at a young age, who have received a high school diploma, have no criminal record, and are under 31 years of age are immediately eligible to apply for defferels that would remove the threat of deportation until they are able to apply for permits. Obama claims this policy will allow the immigration system to run more smoothly, and is similar to an act blocked by Congress in 2010 creating realistic steps towards citizenship.

According to Russia Today, his legislation may directly benefit up to 800,000 undocumented workers currently living in the U.S. Despite criticisms from Republicans, Obama has decided to pursue these new immigration initiatives independently from Congress.

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