December 14, 2008

Car crash in Brooklyn Center leaves 1 dead and 3 injured

A car crash in Brooklyn Center on Saturday left one dead and three injured.

According to the Star Tribune, “Authorities said the chain-reaction crash, reported at 6:17 p.m., at the intersection of Hwy. 252 and 66th Avenue N., was alcohol-related but no arrests had yet been made.?

The Star Tribune only commented on one injury, though information concerning the other injuries may not have been released as of press time for the newspaper.

Details were still scarce as of Sunday morning; however, WCCO reported that “Police say several cars were stopped in the eastbound lanes of 66th Street. A vehicle approaching from behind never stopped and slammed into the traffic. They say the driver … after his car somehow caught fire.?

Both news organizations focused on the primary and basic information of the crash. WCCO had more specific references than the Star Tribune, including car makes and a few names. Furthermore, WCCO ended the article with a brief mention of the weather conditions expected for the rest of the weekend, emphasizing caution for drivers in hazardous weather.

A fire causes $1 million in damages in Palin's church

The church attended by Sarah Palin in Wasilla, Alaska suffered $1 million in damages from a suspected arson attack.

Though no one was injured in the fire, Anchorage Daily News reported that “It was the biggest fire the department has seen this year, and Steele said as many as 35 to 40 volunteer firefighters came from across the region to battle the blaze.?

Certainly, the attention given to the story varied, as did the angles on which different news organizations chose to focus. Sky News first released basic information about the damage caused by the fire, then devoted the rest of the story to an overview of Palin’s vice-presidential candidacy.

According to Sky News, “During the campaign she was also the subject of an inquiry that concluded she had abused her governorial position and violated state ethics law by trying to get her ex-brother-in-law fired from the state police.?

The article went on to describe factors in Palin’s platform that might have led to an arson attack. At times, the objectivity of the article is questionable. As reported by Sky News, “…the self-styled "hockey mom" also horrified many liberals, and attracted derision for her apparent inability to master the finer points of policy and international politics

Both Sky News and Anchorage Daily News printed Palin’s reaction to the fire: she was deeply apologetic if the fire was related in any way to her candidacy.

Nearly 100 arrests made after oppositional rally on Sunday in Moscow

Over 90 people were arrested in Moscow after participating in an oppositional rally Sunday.

Gary Kasparov, a former chess champion, organized the rally.

One of the organizations protestors were a part of was the Other Russia. According to CNN, “The Other Russia's Web site said Kasparov and about 200 other opposition members met Friday and Saturday outside Moscow, ‘finalizing a new movement, which aims to peacefully dismantle what they describe as the illegitimate regime ruling Russia.’?

At the rally, Kasparov said that the structure of the current Russian government makes it impossible for any legitimate reform to happen; thus the only possibility for change is to dismantle the Putin regime.

The BBC reported that “The Moscow authorities had warned that Sunday's demonstration, which had not been given permission, would be ‘firmly stopped by law enforcement officers within the framework of the law’?.

Both articles were very similar, providing quotes from Kasparov and details about the actions of Moscow police.

December 8, 2008

Recount for Senate race ended Friday

The recount of ballots in the senatorial race between Al Franken and Norm Coleman ended Friday.

Though the final count shows Coleman leading by 192 votes, the recount is not the final step in determining who will become the next senator of Minnesota.

Many articles pertaining to the situation emphasized that the election was far from over despite the completion of the recount of 2.9 million ballots.

According to the Pioneer Press, “if Republican Sen. Norm Coleman or Democratic challenger Al Franken hopes to be sworn in on time Jan. 6 — and the odds of that dwindle as the recount drags on — he will first have to go through a five-member state canvassing board charged with determining voter intent on potentially thousands of challenged ballots.?

The canvassing board is set to begin on Dec. 16, and will deal with the approximately 6,000 votes that have been challenged by the two candidates.

The Washington Post also reported on the unlikelihood of a quick resolution of the recount. According to the Washington Post, “The Secretary of State's office in Minnesota hasn't released an official count and won't declare a winner in the race until after that board meets.?

The Washington Post article was far more limited in scope than the extensive analysis proffered by the Pioneer Press, though the Washington Post focused more on viewing the election through a national lens.

Hillary Clinton named Obama's Secretary of State on Monday

Hillary Clinton was officially named Secretary of State in President-elect Barack Obama’s cabinet on Monday.

The New York Times reported that upon accepting the position, Clinton said that “she promised to give ‘my all’ to him and his administration. ‘I am proud to join you on what will be a difficult and exciting adventure in this new century,’ Mrs. Clinton said.?

The Detroit Free Press recognized that six months ago, Clinton and Obama were arguing in the primaries. However, differences have been put aside in the effort to form a strong national security team.

According to the Detroit Free Press, “Former Michigan Gov. Jim Blanchard…called it ‘a fabulous appointment’ and said it offers a kind of ‘double-barreled leadership’ for America on the foreign policy front. Any suggestion that it could be a divided relationship is misguided, he said.?

The Detroit Free Press article focused on the choice of Clinton, specifically, while the New York Times article revolved around an analysis of all Obama’s selections for his national security team, providing an interpretation of what the team signals for the future of Obama’s presidency.

Anti-police riots in Greece continue in response to shooting of 15-year-old boy Saturday

Massive anti-police riots continue to take place in Athens and other parts of Greece after the killing of a 15-year-old boy on Saturday.

According to Al Jazeera, “At least 34 people were injured as thousands of protesters battled police on Sunday in the capital Athens and the northern city of Thessaloniki.?

Al Jazeera also reported that “protests started after Alexandros Grigoropoulos was shot in the traditionally left-wing Exarchia district of Athens on Saturday. The boy had tried to throw a firebomb at a police patrol car.?

The protests began immediately after it was released that Grigoropoulos died in the hospital.

Despite the fact that two police officers were arrested in relation to the death of Grigoropoulos, protesters see the shooting as an act of police brutality. According to the BBC, “One protester told the BBC he had been greatly angered by the actions of the police. ‘It's not the first time. They always kill people - immigrants, innocent people - and without any excuse,’ he said. ‘They murdered him in cold blood.’?

Both articles emphasized the destruction caused by the riots, including the demolition of private property such as restaurants and banks, as well as the use of tear gas and petrol bombs by police and rioters, respectively.

November 30, 2008

One man killed, one injured in drive-by shooting Saturday

One man was killed and another wounded in a drive-by shooting in Minneapolis on Saturday.

The Pioneer Press released very little information in relation to the incident. According to the Pioneer Press, “in a news release, Sgt. Jesse Garcia III says the victims' car was stopped at an intersection around 3 a.m. Saturday when the other car pulled up and someone fired shots.?

The victims’ car eventually crashed into a private home. The Pioneer Press did not reveal any further details on the shooting and its consequences.

The Star Tribune, on the other hand, managed to create a fuller story by interviewing the resident of the home into which the car crashed. According to the Star Tribune, “Michael Allen, 30, of Minneapolis said Saturday he had come by the house where his father lives on the way home from a night out with friends and discovered the home surrounded by police tape and his father's prized Cadillac destroyed by the white Ford Bronco that had slammed into it.?

These specifics create an image in the mind of the reader that better convey the incident in its entirety. The Star Tribune also interviewed Allen’s neighbors to ask about a separate shooting that took place in a nearby apartment complex on Wednesday. The newspaper reported that police said the two shootings, though close in proximity, were unrelated.

Wal-Mart employee killed by stampeding crowd on Black Friday

A Wal-Mart worker died in a human stampede in a New York City suburb on Friday.

The employee was trampled by a crowd of Black Friday shoppers forcing their way into Wal-Mart at the 5 a.m. opening of the store.

The Los Angeles Times reported that though additional security had been requested and provided for the day after Thanksgiving, the man died after customers “‘physically broke down the doors, knocking him to the ground,’ according to a statement from Nassau County officials.?

According to the Los Angeles Times, “the surge at the Valley Stream store on Long Island also left three shoppers with minor injuries, and a pregnant 28-year-old woman was taken to a hospital.?

The New York Times had an article on the incident that provided more extensive coverage including details about the worker. According to the NY Times, his name was Jdimytai Damour, a 34-year-old temporary employee hired by Wal-Mart for the holiday rush.

The New York Times also went into more detail about the consequences of the incident. Interviews with local police officials revealed that “even with videos from the store’s surveillance cameras and the accounts of witnesses, Lieutenant Fleming and other officials acknowledged that it would be difficult to identify those responsible, let alone to prove culpability.?

Death toll at 109 after floods in Brazil

Floods in Brazil caused by a week of torrential rainfall have led to109 deaths as of Saturday.

The floods have also left around 79,000 residents homeless.

According to CNN, “Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva surveyed some of the flooded areas from the air this week and proclaimed the disaster one of the worst in the country's history.?

CNN also reported that “about 1.5 million people -- one-fourth of the population -- have been affected? by the floods.

Al Jazeera
noted that the prospect of more rain in Brazil will likely cause even more damage. According to Al Jazeera, “officials warn that there is a danger of more deadly mudslides and are urging people in risk-prone areas to evacuate their homes and seek shelter elsewhere.?

Though most of the information in the two articles was identical, CNN was somewhat more exact with the data concerning deaths, losses and monetary figures. Al Jazeera offered slightly more information as to what the future may hold for Brazil.

November 24, 2008

Coleman's lead over Franken stands at 167 votes by end of Saturday

By the end of Saturday, the margin of votes separating Sen. Norm Coleman and his opponent, Al Franken, stood at 167.

The official recount of the ballots in the senatorial race has Coleman ahead, with about 65.5 percent of votes having been looked at again. 1,893 votes have been challenged, indicating the outcome of the race is still unclear.

The incredibly close race has led many to stress the importance of voting. According to the Star Tribune, “Coleman volunteer, Lynda Bodin, a dental hygienist from Wayzata, said: “If you stayed home (on election day) thinking your vote doesn’t count, this proves it does.?

The Star Tribune also discussed the problem of missing ballots on a county by county basis, and included quotes from representatives from both campaigns.

The Pioneer Press focused much of its attention on the challenged votes. According to the Pioneer Press, “‘They told us that they were given strict orders to challenge as many as they could,’ she said. ‘So they challenged every stray mark.’?

November 23, 2008

Florida teen commits suicide, streams it live online

A young Florida man killed himself and streamed footage of his death through his webcam.

The video was posted on the personal blog of Abraham Biggs, a 19-year-old, through The teenager announced his plan to commit suicide, and received responses that ranged from disbelief, attempts to dissuade the attempt, and even viewers that egged Biggs on.

Biggs’ family denounced the website, as well as the fact that no one contacted authorities about the suicide as it was happening until it was too late.

According to the BBC, “It is unclear how many people watched Wednesday's suicide unfold, although reports suggest that some viewers thought it was a hoax.?

The BBC also reported that “Biggs took an overdose of anti-depressive drugs, but remained comatose online for hours before he died.?

Part of the reason some viewers thought it was a hoax is apparently due to previous suicide attempts Biggs had faked. ABC News noted that “‘The bloggers said that Biggs had threatened to kill himself before and had faked it, so at first they didn't believe him," said Crane….comments on the thread included an exchange about whether the image of Biggs' motionless body was a still photograph or a video.’?

Both news agencies addressed the disgust of both authorities and the family of the victim in their stories. ABC had more specific details concerning what exactly was posted by Biggs (including some of the text he posted regarding reasons for his suicide). The BBC included more family reaction.

'Israeli spy' hanged in Iran Monday

A man convicted in June of being an Israeli spy was hanged in Iran on November 17, though the execution was announced Saturday.

Ali Ashtari, a 47-year-old electronics salesman, was hanged after revolutionary courts determined he was leaking information concerning the Iranian atomic energy program to the Israel.

Al Jazeera reported that “A judiciary-issued statement said Ashtari had been working with Mossad - Israel's foreign intelligence service - for three years before he was arrested in 2006.?

According to CNN, “‘Evidence of Ashtari's crime was overwhelming,’ Iran's intelligence ministry director told Iran's state-run IRNA news agency.?

The execution comes at a tense time between the Israeli and Iranian governments. CNN reported that “Iran and Israel have been engaged in an escalating war of words. Iran accuses Israel of trying to destabilize the republic. Israel has not ruled out military action to halt Iran's nuclear aspirations.?

Though both Al Jazeera and CNN covered all the immediate details of the story, Al Jazeera contained much more coverage, including quotes issued in a confession statement by Ashtari.

Interestingly, both news sources put quotes around the term “confession?, indicating doubt that the confession was voluntary.

November 17, 2008

Obama in talks with Clinton over possible cabinet position

President-elect Barack Obama met with Senator Hillary Clinton on Thursday in Chicago, purportedly to discuss the possibility of Clinton taking on the position of secretary of state.

No job was offered and other positions were discussed, but the prospect of Clinton in one of the most powerful cabinet positions has definitely sparked a lot of interest.

According to the International Herald Tribune, the meeting also included discussion over the option of Clinton’s help through her role in the Senate. It would entail “Clinton's staying in the Senate and taking a lead there in helping Obama enact a program for universal health care, the issue that both senators emphasized - with some differences - in their respective campaigns.?

The New York Times examined the different tactical sides to such a decision. “Senior Senate Democratic officials say it has become increasingly clear to Mrs. Clinton and her advisers that there was no quick route to a position of influence in the Senate, potentially increasing her interest in a prominent role in the Obama administration.?

Furthermore, the New York Times noted the problematic outcomes Obama could face if Clinton were chosen for the position. The first mentioned was, invariably, potential remnants of feelings of rivalry between the two. “The drama-averse president-elect would also inevitably be sharing the stage with both Clintons, with all of the attention and baggage that accompany them wherever they go. And her appointment could undercut his argument that he is bringing true change to Washington.?

Fridley teen shot and killed

A Fridley High School senior was fatally shot in the chest on Friday.

18-year-old Emmanuel Bartuoh, one of his school’s star football players, died from a gunshot wound in his home in the Rice Creek Townhouses development.

Fridley police Sgt. Rick Crestik said that there was a suspect in the shooting. According to the Star Tribune, “Shortly after the shooting, a man came forward and said he was involved, Crestik said. The man, who is between the ages of 17 and 21, had remained at the house after the shooting. He was in custody Friday night, and police are not looking for other suspects.?

The Star Tribune article had a lot of detail, even quotes from a one of Bartuoh’s teammates to add a more personal element to the tragedy. Description of the scene outside the victim’s house helped reveal the tragedy of the incident. “A large group of high school football players remained outside the house for more than an hour, many of them crying as they huddled in the cold.?

The Pioneer Press also reported on the killing, but with far fewer details. However, it is important to note that the article specifically mentioned that the cause of the shooting was not verified. According to the Pioneer Press, “police have not ruled out that the shooting was an accident.?

Pakistan secures IMF loan

The Pakistani government approved Saturday of a $7.6 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund.

According to CNN, the money will be used to “bolster Pakistan's dwindling foreign currency reserves amid concern that a run on the Pakistani rupee could force the country to default on its international debt.?

The IMF loan will be paid out over the course of two years. The only obstacle in deciding the factors of the loan was disagreement between Pakistan and the IMF over interest rates.

The Daily Times, a local newspaper in Pakistan, focused the length of its coverage on the reactions of Pakistanis to the loan. “The IMF assistance would strengthen country’s financial institutions, which would lead to revitalisation of the economy, said Iftikhar Ali Malik, Co-Chairman of Businessmen Panel, the largest alliance of chambers and traders of Pakistan.?

It is clear from both articles that economic stability is the main goal of the loan, and that it has the potential to bring great change to Pakistan’s economic, and even political, outlook.