July 2012 Archives

Ozone Layer Threatened by Storms

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Researchers said Thursday there is reason to believe there is a link between climate change and damage to the ozone layer in populated areas, according to the New York Times.

Storms that send water vapor into the upper stratosphere could interact with chemicals from CFC gasses, which are now banned, and have ozone destroying effects. The stratosphere is usually dry, but with increased storms, these reactions are depleting the ozone layer.

Previously, scientists have studied ozone loss and climate change as separate concepts, but recent findings show they are very connected. Scientists said if global warming continues to lead to an increased number of storms, these risks will continue to intensify.

According to the Christian Science Monitor, damage to the ozone layer can lead to dangerous exposure to ultraviolet radiation on Earth's surface.

Ondre Johnson, a New York Police Detective was suspended after a kidnap victim was found constrained in his Queens garage, according to the New York Times. The victim was being held for ransom, and was found by tracing a ransom demand made from a phone at Johnson's residence.

The detective told authorities he has no knowledge of the abduction, and was not personally using the garage the victim was found in.
Johnson said his cousin lives in the other apartment of his two-story house.

A safe was also found in the second apartment containing plastic cards and printing presses that could be used to make fake credit cards. Johnson has worked for the New York Police Department for 17 years in a Brooklyn gang investigation unit. Authorities decided not to arrest Johnson, because they lacked sufficient evidence tying him to the incident.

According to Russia Today, three other men including Johnson's cousin were arrested and charged with attempt to collect ransom, possession of a weapon, and kidnapping.

Julian Assange's mother will meet with authorities in Ecuador Monday to ask for her son's political asylum plea to be granted, according to CNN.

After losing an appeal to the United Kingdom Supreme Court on counts of sexual assault in Sweden, the Wikileaks founder fled to the Ecuador embassy to file for asylum under the UN Human Rights Declaration, according to WebProNews.

Assange thinks his extradition to Sweeden has political motivation, and is looking for protection from such attacks. Assange remains under protection of the embassy while the request is being processed. According to an embassy statement, Equador officials do not wish to interfere with the judicial process of Sweden or the United Kingdom.

Christine Assange has traveled to Quito and said she trusts the Ecuador authorities will make the right decision. She intends to highlight the human rights issues in her son's case.

Christine Assange also said if her son is sent to Sweden, he could be handed over to U.S. authorities, where he could face the death penalty or years of torture in a U.S. prison.

Hyundai Recalls Vehicles

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According to CNN, Hyundai is going to recall over 200 thousand SUVs and Sonata sedans due to potential problems with the air bags.

The SUVs were manufactured in Santa Fe between 2007 and 2009. There may be a problem accurately gauging the size of the passenger in order to determine whether the front airbags should be deployed. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the classification system may be changed to include smaller sized adults.

Sedans made from 2012 to 2013 are being recalled due to an error that causes the curtain airbags to inflate when not necessary.

According to USA Today, Hyundai received complaints stating that the airbags of adults under 130 pounds did not deploy. No injuries have been reported, and the censors will be re-programmed free of charge.

Minnesota State Park Closed

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Damage from heavy flooding to the Jay Cooke State Park in Duluth has forced its closure, according to Minnesota Public Radio. Flooding wiped out a large stretch of forest,wiped out the highway in several places, and caused major damage to Park's swinging bridge. The Department of Natural Resources has decided to close the Park until at least October.

The DNR must refund over 3,000 nights of reserved camping, and consider the closure a loss to the tourism industry in northeast Minnesota.

According to the Pioneer Press, the agency will lose between $175 and $200 thousand in revenue. Of Minnesota's 75 state parks and recreation areas, Jay Cook is the ninth most visited.

The Park's trail system branches across 50 miles, and was also damaged significantly by the flooding. Most employees of the Park will continue working throughout the summer to help repair damage.

Protection of Unused Elementary School Granted

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The Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission granted up to 18 months of protection to the closed Shingle Creek Elementary school in north Minneapolis, according to the Star Tribune. Despite opposition from the public school district and some local residents, the Commission decided the school may have historical significance due to its 1950s style, and place in a postwar neighborhood.

Other residents describe the school as significant as well, one resident said it is "the centerpiece of the neighborhood." Classrooms are organized into pods, which is consistent with the architectural style of the historical time period it was built in.

However, Minneapolis Public School officials intend to appeal the ruling to the Minneapolis City Council, according to Minnesota Public Radio. Although it is a notable location, and was even chosen to film a 1960s era scene in the movie "A Serious Man", district officials argue that it is a costly site to maintain.

Vandals and break-ins are common, and the district spends between $35 and $50 thousand each year to repair the damage.

Numbers Analysis

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A story by CNN used numbers in multiple ways to tell the story of heavy flooding in Beijing. Numbers were used to describe the physical characteristics of the storm, the number of people killed or effected, and to describe the economic losses the storm caused. Numbers are also used to describe flights that were delayed, and how many passengers were effected.

For the most part, numbers are used in a straight forward way that is easy for readers to understand. The numbers are spaced out so that each use introduces a new and interesting aspect of the story. Most numbers are attributed to various governmental or media based sources.

Dozens Killed in Bejing Floods

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37 people have been killed by massive flooding in Bejing, according to CNN. The floods are the heaviest recorded in the area in 60 years.

The storm lasted for 10 hours, and left many pedestrians and drivers stranded. Over $1.5 billion worth of damages were caused by the storm, 2 million people have been effected, and thousands were evacuated.

The government has predicted more upcoming and potentially dangerous storms in provinces throughout China, according to National Public Radio.

According to Minnesota Public Radio, a Twitter account created by Worthington High School students was shut down by police due to its offensive nature.

The students may face academic discipline or even criminal charges. The superintendent said the incident was a case of bullying, and intends to use this site as an example of inappropriate use of social media.

According to the Pioneer Press, the site was set up to spread gossip about other students, and included content that was derogatory and sexually explicit.

Black Bear Enters Pennsylvania Department Store

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According to BBC, a female black bear entered the Pittsburg Mills shopping center through automatic doors. The shopping center was evacuated, and Pennsylvania wildlife officials eventually sedated the animal with a tranqulizer.

Customers in the immediate area fled as the bear growled before getting stuck between store doors. The young bear was a cub and weighed about 125 pounds. Experts said this was a very rare incident. Circumstances enabling the bear to enter the shopping center are being investigated.

The bear was first spotted early morning in the parking lot, and was scared by various cars, according to the Huffington Post.

Egyptian TV Station Managed by Veiled Women

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According to ZeeNews, a satalite news channel called Maria TV has launched in Egypt, and features only women who are fully veiled.

The station is based in a working class district of Cairo, and will broadcast six hours daily on an a channel run by orthodox Muslims. There are no men allowed on staff.

According to Russia Today, Islamists have been gaining support and advocacy for their rights since the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak. While in power Mubarak banned the niqab from Egyptian television, but his fall has allowed Muslim women to more easily stand up for their rights.

The channel's owner said the project will provide a workplace free from discrimination for veiled women, and is meant to give them a professional voice and face in Egyptian society.

Light Rail Contract Reconsidered

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The Metropolitan Council is reconsidering awarding a light-rail engineering contract that will connect Minneapolis and Eden Prarie to a company connected to the Sabo Bridge failure, according to Minnesota Public Radio. Upon reviewing the recent Sabo Bridge failure report, the council announced Friday it plans to cancel its contract awarding full funding for the proposed Southwest Corridor project the San Francisco based URS corporation.

Metropolitan Council will recommend multiple engineering contracts for the line, and will also propose an independent peer review contract. The council said that AECOM, an original bidder on the contract will now be considered equally.

According to the Star Tribune, this decision followed the breakdown of a Minneapolis bicycle and pedestrian bridge designed by URS. Governor Mark Dayton also criticized URS in a meeting with the Metropolitan Council chair this spring.

Ultimately, both corporations will bid on the now two separate contracts, but the council has emphasized the importance of independent peer review for public confidence and support.

HIV Prevention Drug Approved by FDA

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The HIV prevention drug Truvada has been approved in the U.S., according to BBC. The drug can be used by people at risk for contracting HIV, and may reduce risk of infection by up to 73 percent.

The approval faced some opposition by groups and health workers who think that the drug may lead those with access to engage in more risky behavior and unprotected sex.

A representative of the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS said the drug can be useful for those who have an HIV positive partner, but in these situations it is most important to focus on treating the infected partner with regular anti retro-viral drugs.

According to Fox News, Truvada has already been on the market to treat patients already infected with HIV. Doctors said additional preventative measures and contraceptives should still be used by users of the drug.

Caribbean Parasite Named After Bob Marley

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According to Russia Today, a new blood sucking parasite in the Caribbean is to be named after Bob Marley.

The crustacean inhabits coral reefs and will be called Gnathia marleyi.The researcher who discovered the parasite said he named the parasite out of his respect and admiration for the artist, considering that the parasite is a natural wonder.

The parasites are an important source of food for cleaner fish, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Japan Considers Re-locating Central Offices

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According to Russia Today, the Central Disaster Prevention Council has proposed that central government offices be transferred to several of Japan's major cities to protect from damage caused by future natural disasters.

Discussions have been escalating as earthquakes have continued to hit the nation since the major tsunami in 2011, according to The Daily Yumiori.

Protests in Sudan Turn Violent

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According to allAfrica, a series of protests against the rising cost of living, economic struggles, and the removal of subsidies for fuel in Sudan culminated in brutal methods of suppression by authorities.

Protesters want to see the fall of the Al-Bashir dictatorship, and the ruling of the current regime.

Several protesters were arrested, and tear gas was used, according to http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/13/world/africa/sudan-protests/index.html?hpt=iaf_c2.

According to CNN, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will allow Florida election officials access to a database that contains alien registration numbers in order to prevent non-citizens from voting.

Numerous other states have been looking to implement stricter identification legislation, but have faced obstacles by the federal government.

Requests for access to the database had been denied repeatedly by the Obama administration, and the recent ruling was a victory for Republicans, according to Fox News.

According to the Star Tribune, a Minnesota police officer could face charges after he allegedly provided marijuana to protesters in the Occupy Minneapolis movement.

The officer was involved in the Drug Recognition Evaluator Program. The case has been received by the Hennepin County attorney's office, and is currently under review.

The report was filed by another officer in a different law enforcement agency who allegedly witnessed the officer providing marijuana to a potential subject, according to Fox News.

U of M Considers New Alcohol Policy

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According to the Star Tribune, the U of M Board of Regents will be voting this week on a resolution to allow beer and wine sales during home Gopher games in the premium seating section.

Alcohol sales at the TCF Stadium under certain circumstances were already legalized by the Legislature this Spring, but the new resolution will add further details.

According to Minnesota Public Radio, the U of M was prevented by the Legislature from only providing alcohol in specific suites.

Obituary Analysis

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An obituary in the New York Times on Ernest Borgnine reads much more like a biography or article than a traditional obituary. The obituary starts by highlighting his role as an Oscar-Winning actor, and contrasting his outer appearance with the roles he played in film. It makes for a poetic opening to the obituary.

This obituary includes a few quotes, as well as links to movie lists of all of the performances that are cited. It is similar to a resume in that it lists his greatest accomplishments concerning his acting career, and also mentions the awards he won. However, it also outlines his personal life, and discusses information on his childhood, marriages, and his children. It includes personal details that would not be included in a resume for emotional impact.

Thousands Could Lose Internet Access

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Over 300,000 people could lose internet access July 9 as the FBI shuts down the servers of computers infected with malewar, according to BBC.

A gang that has earned over $14 million by infecting the computers of millions of victims with online viruses were targeted by the FBI, and all computers still infected by the viruses could lose internet access.

The infections have taken place in numerous countries, including the U.S. and Canada, and the FBI believes there are still 360,000 computers infected, according to The Herald News.

U.S. Heat Wave Causes Deaths

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Over 40 people died in the heat wave that struck across the U.S., according to BBC.

The heat wave struck in numerous states across the Midwest and the East Coast. Crops and roads were damaged in the heat, and 42 people died due to the temperatures.

Many of the deaths were elderly people who were left without air conditioning in their homes. Severe storms helped ease the heat in some areas, and are expected to continue throughout the country.

However, he death-toll continues to rise, and has already reached 74 people, according to MSNBC. Forcasters have also warned that a new round of high temperatures originating in the Rockies could effect the area by Wednesday.

Sewage Pipe Breaks Near St. Cloud

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A sewer pipe in Sauk Rapids broke Wednesday, allowing up to 700,000 gallons of sewage to spill into the Mississippi River, according to MPR.

The incident did not result in any fines, and the pipe was fixed the same day. The sewage is not expected to cause any threats to public health or safety.

The City of St. Cloud has added treatment to the water and is doing additional monitoring as a precaution, according to the sctimes.

Disney Performance in North Korea

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A show played on state TV in North Korea featured performers dressed as Disney Characters, according to BBC.

The concert was staged for Kim Jong-un, the young leader who took power of the nation after the death of his father in 2011. This performance marked a drastic difference from former philosophies in North Koerea banning any Western based media.

Mr. Kim has stated that he wants to make changes in the nation's leadership profile, and bring about a dramatic turn in literature and arts.

Although the U.S. and North Korea do not currently have diplomatic relations, the nation's embrace of popular American characters is part of an attempt to reflect Kim's increased acceptance of modernity, according to the Guardian.

Single Sex Classrooms in Public Schools

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Dozens of public schools throughout the U.S. are being challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union for their single sex education programs, according to an article in Minnesota Public Radio.

Following research indicating that boys on average have lower test scores and graduation rates than girls, many schools across the country began separating classes by gender. Close to 500 public schools now offer some form of single sex education.

However, critics such as the ACLU have stated that this method of education promotes gender stereotypes, prevents access to equal education opportunities, and may be unconstitutional.

Proponents have asserted that these methods are also aimed at breaking down gender stereotypes rather than emphasizing them, according to the Huffington Post.

Alan Chambers, leader of Exodus International, gave public statements retracting his claim that homosexuality can be cured through counceling and prayer, according to the New York times.

Exodus International is a network of ministries that has claimed for over three decades that same sex attraction is caused by childhood scars, and that sexual orientation can be permanently altered with prayer and psychotherapy. The movement was thrown into a very unstable condition when Chambers said publically that he thinks same sex attraction cannot be eliminated permanently, and that he no longer condones this kind of therapy.

The group's annual conference was held in Minnesota this year, and Chambers told the Associated Press that he hopes to lead the group in a new direction. Chambers also said that the timing of the conference was not meant to influence Minnesota voters on the upcoming gay marriage amendment ballot, according to the Huffington Post.

About this Archive

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

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