Analysis: US Deaths Reach Record as Population Ages

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Fox News

*Need to transfer this from notebook*

Same-Sex Marriage to be Brought to Supreme Court

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The question of same-sex marriage is being raised in courtrooms nationwide. Soon, it will be brought to the U.S.'s highest court.
Friday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear two cases on same-sex marriage reports the New York Times.
One of the cases poses the question of whether federal government can discriminate against same-sex couples married in states were it is currently legal.
The second case, filed by Theodore B. Olsen and David Boies of California raises a likely more influential question: whether same-sex marriage is a constitutional right even in states with provisions against it currently, reports the New York Times.
The Washington Post reports that nine states presently recognize same-sex marriages, while 41 do not recognize it and 30 explicitly prohibit it in their legislation.
The decision has not been made public as to date.

Saint Paul Union Depot Re-opens With a Celebration

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Hundreds of people attended a party Saturday to mark the reopening of Union Depot in downtown St. Paul reported MPR.
The station's restoration took two years and $243 million, MPR said.
Union Depot closed in 1971, following a shift in macro-transportation trends reports Minn Post.
The pillared entry and head house of the station remained open and were rented out as office space, condos and restaurants over the years, Minn Post said. The concourse and lobby were used as storage for a nearby, though now closed, post office and was opened to the public only occasionally for events like the 1999 Titanic memorabilia exhibit, reports Minn Post.
Plans for the station include offering services to passenger and light rail trains, buses, bikes and motor coaches reports MPR.
MetroTransit bus service to the depot begins this weekend, with Jefferson Regional Bus Lines making stops there in January reports MPR. According to MPR, Amtrak will begin making stops at the station in late 2013 and official plans for light rail service are slated for 2014.

Violence Erupts in Belfast Over Flag Dispute

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Al Jazeera reports that at least eight police officers were injured during the riots.
Belfast's council voted Monday to change its policy on the Union flag, reported the BBC. Al Jazeera reports the anger in Northern Ireland following the decision has been expressed by Protestant loyalists who believe Northern Ireland should strengthen ties to Britain.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) told Al Jazeera that five people were arrested following clashes between police and hundreds of loyalists in the city center Friday night.
Violence ensued when two cars were set ablaze, reported Al Jazeera. According to the BBC protesters outside of city hall used metal barriers, bottles and golf balls to attack police.
Police told Al Jazeera that around 1,000 people rioted Monday and 15 police officers were injured.
The BBC reports Nationalist politicians had argued removing the flag would ease tensions in the divided city by creating a more "equal and neutral" environment.

Hodges Makes Move Toward Mayoral Race

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Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak has not declared whether he will run for another term next election, reports the Star Tribune. In the mean time, one city representative is making moves toward her own candidacy.
Council Budget Chair Betsy Hodges filed paperwork last week for campaign finances that declared her running, according to the Star Tribune.
Hodges told the Southwest Journal, "If the mayor runs again I will support him."
Rybak has promised to announce whether he will run by Jan. 1 reports City Pages.

U.S. and Russian Diplomats Discuss Syria

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In this ABC News story, a press conference served as just one part of a variety of sources bringing depth to a Minneapolis workplace shooting that resulted in six deaths last September. Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan's comments in a press conference as summarized by the Star Tribune ground the story in facts from police investigation of the crime.
Mention of information from the press conference first appears in the second paragraph and continues again with a direct quote from Dolan in paragraph four. The first half of the article focuses on official police statements, lending credibility to the report and informing readers early-on of some of the physical details behind the shootings.
The reporter expands beyond the official accounts near the end of the story when he gathers observations from Barbara Haynes and Marques Jones, two individuals who were near the scene of the crime and witnessed some of the aftermath. This segment of the story adds a more personal angle than the press conference notes had, including the image of Jones and his senior portrait photographer running to their cars out of fear of gunshots.
The quotes and summarization from the press conference work well to explain the events that occurred at the scene of the crime and are well-balanced by the personal reports at the end of the story. However, the article may have been stronger if the conference facts had been synthesized a little more seamlessly throughout the piece, instead of all piled in one section together.

Internet and Phone Service Disconnected in Syria

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Internet service as well as mobile and land telephone lines have become unreachable in Syria this afternoon reports the BBC.
The Guardian reports internet connectivity stopped completely at 12:26p.m. in Damascus.
Internet restrictions imposed in Syria have made it impossible to reach any of the country's 84 IP address blocks, reports internet intelligence authority Renesys.
Syrian government officials blame "terrorists" for the disconnection, reports the BBC.
Syrian civilians told Reuters mobile and land telephone lines have only worked intermittently in what may be the worst disruption to communication since conflict erupted last year.
This type of attack on communication services providers is not unheard of in the region. The BBC reports internet blackouts occurred in Libya often in areas controlled by Colonel Gaddafi.
Reuters reports the U.S. remains confident Syrian opposition will be able to circumvent the disconnect using technology provided by the U.S.

Man Arrested in Synthetic Drug Raid

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Officers confiscated more than 80 pounds of synthetic marijuana and $280,000 in a raid of a Minneapolis tobacco shop and its owner's suburban home reports the Star Tribune.
KSTP reports an undercover police officer purchased the synthetic drug known as "K2" or "420" at least four times from the shop.
Mokrane Rahim, 30, of New Brighton, was charged Monday with fourth-degree sale of a controlled substance to a police officer and may face further charges in connection to the sale reports the Star Tribune.
As of Tuesday evening, the shop was still open reports the Star Tribune.
KSTP reports search warrants were issued for the store and Rahim's New Brighton home where the synthetic marijuana, cash, a Mercedes Benz and jewelry were also confiscated according to KSTP.

Members of the Blaine-based Teamsters union Local 120 await results of an investigation into corruption of their former top-ranking union officers, reports MPR.
A father and son duo, Brad Slawson Sr. and Brad Slawson Jr. are the focus of an investigation by the Independent Review Board (IRB), a body commissioned by the U.S. Justice Department to tackle corruption across U.S. Teamsters union branches reports the Star Tribune. The review board is a result of a 1989 consent decree between the Teamsters and the Justice Department in order to dodge racketeering charges against the union, said the Star Tribune.
The Teamsters international union ousted the Slawsons from their leadership roles, at least temporarily, on Nov. 13 while Local 120 has been placed into emergency trusteeship, reports the Star Tribune.
The Star Tribune reports the Slawsons were each earning six-figure salaries in their positions as president and secretary-treasurer of Local 120. The 11,661 members of the local were unaware that the Slawsons were also receiving payment from a Fargo bar reports the Star Tribune.
MPR reports allegations in the IRB's report include more than $200,000 of unaccounted for beer and liquor from the Fargo bar between 2010 and 2011. The Slawsons allegedly used union funds to abruptly change a building contract for the local's office construction and pay $90,000 to Todd Chester, a close friend of Slawson Jr. and father to one of Slawson Sr.'s grandchildren reports MPR.
Neither of the officers have faced criminal charges to date reports MPR. If the pair is successfully charged with the allegations they could be banned from officer positions in the Teamsters union along with other criminal offenses reports the Star Tribune.