October 2012 Archives

Obama, Christie tour hurricane-damaged coast

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President Obama and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie toured the boardwalks of storm-ravaged New Jersey Wednesday, the New York Times and Star-Ledger reported.

Twelve people have died from the hurricane in New Jersey, according to the Star-Ledger. Fifty-eight people have died nationally.

About 2.2 million New Jersey homes and businesses are without power, according to the Star-Ledger. The storm caused damage in a half-dozen states and has caused an estimated tens of billions of dollars of damage, according to the New York Times.

Obama and Christie took an aerial tour of the New Jersey shore, beginning from Atlantic City, according to the New York Times.

Christie, a Republican, had criticized Obama a few days ago at a rally in Richmond, Va, but Christie commended Obama's personal leadership Wednesday, according to the New York Times. Both Christie and Obama praised the each others handling of the situation.

Hurricane Sandy sweeps across Haiti, causes 54 deaths

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Hurricane Sandy caused 54 deaths in Haiti as it made its way towards the eastern U.S., the Star Tribune and New York Times reported Wednesday.

Twenty-one people in Haiti are still unaccounted for, according to the Star Tribune.

More than 20 inches of rain drenched Haiti over four days last week, according to the New York Times. The Haitian government said that the storm damaged the homes of as many as 200,000 people. The Haitian president, Michel Martelly, declared a monthlong state of emergency, according to the Star Tribune.

The storm has caused more than 60 deaths in the U.S. and Canada, according to the New York Times, and 71 in the Caribbean, according to the Star Tribune.

Hurricane Sandy reached hurricane status on Oct. 24, according the New York Times. It made landfall in Haiti as a Category 2 hurricane.

Analysis: multimedia

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The Star Tribune and Los Angeles Times both use a variety of multimedia, include video, graphics, photo slide shows and user polls.

For example, the main story Sunday on latimes.com was about a community health clinic. The package featured a video story, a user poll, photos of the clinic, and a graphic showing the use of community health centers in Los Angeles.

Startribune.com featured a story Sunday about the test scores of white students in Minneapolis Public Schools. In addition to the story, the Star Tribune ran a graphic about test scores in Minneapolis. The graphic allowed users to see how Minneapolis students of all races compare to the rest of the state.

On both websites, the writing for these multimedia options is tight and focused. It gives concrete facts and explains the visuals on the screen.

In the Minneapolis Public Schools story, for example, the writing on the interactive graphic explains the data. Below the graphics, there is a summary statement that explains the point of the graphics.

Similarly, in the health clinic story, the Los Angeles Times has about the voices of the health clinic. The video gives a few facts about the state of health care in Los Angeles, helping explain why this is such a big issue.

Saul Smith to rejoin team on Nov. 13

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Gophers assistant coach Saul Smith will rejoin the men's basketball team on Nov. 13, the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press reported Friday.

The Gophers suspended Saul Smith, the son of head coach Tubby Smith, follow his DUI arrest last weekend. The team placed Saul Smith on unpaid leave last Sunday.

Smith's date in court will be moved from Dec. 3 to Nov. 9, the Star Tribune reported.

The University will require him to attend counseling and educational classes about alcohol use, the Star Tribune reported.

Smith will miss the team's first two regular-season games, according to the Star Tribune.

Athletics Director Norwood Teague said that if similar behavior occurs in the future, Smith will be subject to termination, the Star Tribune reported.

Saul Smith to coach this season, Tubby Smith says

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Gophers head basketball coach Tubby Smith said Thursday that he expects his son Saul to coach this season despite his DUI arrest, the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press reported.

The Minnesota State Patrol pulled Saul Smith over early Saturday morning on westbound 394 for speeding and driving on the shoulder, according to Lt. Eric Roeske of the state patrol, the Star Tribune reported. He blew a .18 on a breathalyzer test, more than twice the legal limit, according to the Pioneer Press.

The Gophers placed Saul Smith on unpaid leave Sunday, the Star Tribune reported. He will remain on unpaid leave until his Dec. 3 court date, the Pioneer Press reported, although Athletics Director Norwood Teague told the Star Tribune the suspension is indefinite.

Tubby Smith allowed Teague to handle the situation, but he expects his son to bounce back, according to the Pioneer Press.

Tubby Smith hired Saul onto the Gophers' coach staff for the 2007-08 season, according to the Pioneer Press. Saul played for Tubby when he was head coach at Kentucky.

High school soccer team disqualified from state tournament

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The Minnesota State High School League disqualified last year's 1A state-title winner Prairie Seeds Academy from the state soccer tournament Wednesday, the Star Tribune and St. Cloud Times reported.

The MSHSL found that the team used an ineligible player during the entire 2012 season, the Star Tribune reported.

According to the Star Tribune, the ineligible player transferred to the school during the 2011-12 school year. The player was ineligible, though, because the school did not fill out a "student online transfer form," the Star Tribune reported.

The MSHSL investigated the school following a brawl that took place during Prairie Seed's 2-1 victory over Totino-Grace High School last Friday, according to the St. Cloud Times.

With the win, which is now vacated, Prarie Seed advanced to the state tournament, the St. Cloud Times reported. Prarie Seed was supposed to face Duluth Marshall in the state quarterfinal, but Marshall will advance to the semifinals with the disqualification, according to the St. Cloud Times.

MSHSL executive director Dave Stead told the Star Tribune that he's never seen a team disqualified from a state tournament in his 27 years with the league.

An Italian court convicted six Italian scientists and one official of manslaughter Monday for failing to give adaquete warning of an earthquake that killed over 300 people in L'Aquila in 2009, the Los Angeles Times an Chicago Tribune reported.

The three-judge court sentenced each of the defendants to six years imprisonment.

The seven men will appeal the verdict and do not face imprisonment until the verdict is confirmed in appeals court.

The quake, which struck on April 6, 2009, killed 309 people, injured more than 1,500, destroyed about 20,000 buildings and left more than 65,000 people displaced, according to Nature.

Scientists around the world condemned the case, arguing that it will deter scientists from working in risk assessment.

Obama, Romney tackle foreign policy in final debate

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President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney challenged each other on foreign policy in the final presidential debate Monday night, the Star Tribune and Los Angeles Times reported.

Obama accused Romney of being all over the map on a range of issues, the Los Angeles Times reported. "Every time you've offered an opinion," the president said. "You've been wrong."

Romney also dished out criticism, both articles reported. He said the U.S. should have done more to prevent Iranian nuclear development, repeatedly saying, "We're four years closer to a nuclear Iran."

The two candidates painted different pictures of the world. Obama indicated that the world is safer and tighter-knit, while Romney said the world is dangerous and more threatening, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The candidates agreed on many issues, however, despite the heated rhetoric, the Los Angeles Times reported. Both agreed on positions regarding Israel, Iraq, Afghanistan and the use of predator drones.

Analysis: The Sixth District congressional race

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The Star Tribune ran a story Sunday showing that Republican Michele Bachmann holds a slight lead over democratic challenger Jim Graves.

The writer first presented the results of the poll, which said that Bachmann is favored by 51 percent of likely voters while Graves is favored by 45 percent. The writer then gave the details of the poll: it was conducted on Oct. 16 by Pulse Opinion Research and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

After summarizing the results and nature of how the poll was conducted, the author let each candidate respond to the results of the poll. She then explained the how specific demographics view each candidate.

The writer finished the story with a summary of the important issues in the sixth district and how each candidate has handled them.

The reporter's organizational structure was effective. She put the most news-worthy, important information- the results of the poll- at the beginning of the story. She put the more detailed and specific results of the poll in the middle of the story.

The structure was effective because it started with a broad topic- the congressional race- and broke it down along different demographics. Someone with an interest in politics would be curious about his or her demographic will vote in this election.

The author could have organized the story by how voters feel about specific issues, such as the economy. The approach the author took, however, seemed to be the most effective.

Gophers lose to Wisconsin 38-13

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The Wisconsin offense pounded the Gophers defense on the ground Saturday. And then they pounded some more. And some more.

When it was all done, Wisconsin had ran for over 300 rushing yards, scored 24 second-half points and defeated the Gophers 38-13 at Camp Randall Stadium.

The Badgers claimed the rivalry trophy, Paul Bunyan's Axe, for the ninth year in a row, according to the Star Tribune.

The Gophers started the quarterback Saturday who they hope will help them end their losing streak against the Badgers. True freshman Phillip Nelson stared his first game, throwing for 149 yards and two touchdowns while also leading the team in rushing yards.

Though he threw two interceptions, Nelson led two touchdown drives, and coach Jerry Kill said he thought "his play was encouraging," according to the Star Tribune.

According to the Pioneer Press, the Gophers coaching staff loves Nelson. Coach Kill told Nelson that he is probably going to start for the rest of the season, according to the Star Tribune.

Kill said he thinks that giving Nelson some experience now will help him in the long run, according to the Star Tribune.

Senior MarQueis Gray played wide receiver, the position he played the majority of his freshman and sophomore seasons, according to the Star Tribune. The unquestioned starter at quarterback to begin the season, Gray will likely remain at wide receiver.

Syrian airstrikes kill dozens

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Syrian government airstrikes killed 43 people over Wednesday and Thursday, according to activists, the Christian Science Monitor reported.

The Syrian government hopes to reclaim control of the main road linking Damascus and Homs to the cities of Aleppo and Idlib after rebels captured Idlib last week, according to CNN.

The Syrian government has been fighting to regain control there ever the rebel takeover.

Human Rights Watch said the government used cluster bombs during the raids, which are especially dangerous to civilians, according to the Christian Science Monitor. The Syrian government denied using them.

According to activists, more than 33,000 people have died since the beginning of the Syrian conflict, the Christian Science Monitor reported.

Seventh Minn. case of meningitis confirmed

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A man in his 50's and a woman in her 40's contracted fungal meningitis, bringing the state's total to seven cases, according to the Star Tribune.

More than 230 people nationwide have contracted the fungus, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) linked to three lots of a contaminated steroid medication. The medication came from the called the New England Compounding Center.

At least 15 people have died from the outbreak nationwide, according to CBS News.

Health officials are not sure what contaminated the steroids but said dirty conditions, faulty sterilizing equipment, tainted ingredients or sloppiness on the part of employees are all possibilities, CBS News reported .

All seven patients received contaminated steroids from two Twin Cities clinics- Medical Advanced Pain Specialists (MAPS) and the Minnesota Surgery Center, according to the Star Tribune.

The CDC estimated that 13,000 people were exposed to the medication nationally, according to Scientific American.

Minnesota health officials estimated that 950 people were treated with the steroid, the Star Tribune reported last week. Since symptoms take four to six weeks to appear, state officials expect more cases to develop.

Thieves stole paintings worth potentially hundreds of millions of dollars from Amsterdam's Rotterdam Museum early Tuesday morning, according to the Star Tribune and the Telegraph.

The thieves pulled off one of the biggest art heists in years, stealing paintings by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, and Henri Matisse, according to the Star Tribune.

Police didn't said how the thieves executed the robbery, which occurred around 3 a.m., according to the Star Tribune. Police arrived at the museum at 4 a.m., five minutes after an alarm was triggered.

Art experts said that the paintings are would be worth hundreds of millions of dollars if sold legally at auction. They also noted that this is now nearly impossible.

The paintings were part of the Triton Foundation collection, which is being exhibited publicly in its entirety for the first time.


A 70-year-old Minnesota woman contracted fungal meningitis last week, the fourth reported case in Minnesota of an outbreak that has caused 15 deaths nationally, the Star Tribune reported Saturday.

The three previous Minnesota cases involved women in women in their 40's, according to the Star Tribune. Two of the women have been treated and released from the hospital and the third is expected to be released from the hospital soon.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) linked the outbreak to three lots of a contaminated steroid medication , according to Scientific American. The three lots came from a steroid maker in New England, which was not licensed to sell medication in bulk, according to the Star Tribune.

The CDC estimated that 13,000 people were exposed to the medication nationally, according to Scientific American.

State officials estimated that 950 people were treated with the steroid. Since symptoms take four to six weeks to appear, state officials expect more cases to develop.

Fungal meningitis, however, is not contagious- which means there is no risk for the general public- according to Scientific American.

Analysis: the marriage crusader

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Frank Schuber is a maestro.

Not in the same sense as Franz Schubert- the famous 19th century Austrian composer. The 21st century Schuber is a master of the campaign against same-sex marriage.

Schuber has orchestrated 30 successful campaigns to get marriage defined as a union of one man and one woman, according to the Star Tribune. This fall, he's looking for win No. 31 in Minnesota.

In August, the Star Tribune ran a feature story on Schuber. The story used seven sources, including Schuber, his colleagues and his adversaries.

The Star Tribune told Schuber's story in a chronological fashion, incorporating the sources as they pertained to Schuber's life. Most of the information in the story came from Schuber and the other sources, though some came from observation by the reporter.

The reporter, for example, incorporated direct observation that he must have gleaned during his interview with Schuber. He noted Schuber's posture as he works, where he interviewed Schuber, what he was drinking, and his side comments.

The reporter set up the attributions through effective transitions. He often used a stand-alone sentence to introduce another character before giving a quote.

This approach is effective. It gives the reader a clear idea of who the new source is and shows the breadth of Schuber's character.

Skydiver makes 24-mile supersonic jump

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"Fearless Felix" leaped from a balloon 24 miles above earth's surface before safely landing in the New Mexico desert Sunday afternoon, breaking the mark for the highest-ever skydive.

Fourty-three-year-old Austrailian Felix Baumgartner jumped from 128,000 feet above the earth's surface around 12 p.m. MT and safely landed 20 minutes later, according to Scientific American.

With the jump, Baumgartner became the first man to reach supersonic speed without traveling in a jet or spacecraft, the Star Tribune reported. Baumgartner shattered the supersonic barrier- which is 690 mph- reaching a maximum speed of 833.9 mph, according to the Star Tribune.

While the journey lasted 20 minutes, Baumgartner spent only 4 minutes and 20 seconds in free fall, before his parachute deployed, according to Scientific American.

Baumgartner's mission- known as Red Bull Stratos- coincentally came on the 65th anniversary of the day that U.S. test pilot Chuck Yager became the first man to break the sound barrier in a jet, according to the Star Tribune.


Shooting of Pakistani girl sparks outrage

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The Taliban shot a 14-year-old girl Tuesday who publicly protested the lack of education for women in Pakistan, the Washington Post and Los Angeles Times reported.

Doctors removed bullets from the teenage girl's head and neck, according to the Washington Post. She is unconscious and in critical condition.

The Taliban took responsibility for the incident, which provoked outrage across the country, according to the Washington Post. Impromptu rallies developed across the country Thursday in support of the girl.

The girl, Malala Yousafanzi, began speaking out against the Taliban at age 11. She advocated for the education of women, which the Taliban seeks to ban.

The U.N., which marked its first International Day of the Girl Child Thursday, condemned the attacks, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Metro Transit unveils new Central Corridor light-rail cars

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Metro Transit unveiled a lighter, more energy-efficient rail car Wednesday, the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press reported.

The new cars will run on the Central Corridor line, which is set to open in 2014.

Metro Transit will build 47 cars for the new line, according to the Star Tribune. The cars are 6,000 pounds lighter and will feature LED internal lighting instead of less-efficient fluorescent lighting.

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar and other officials toured the new cars Wednesday.

The 11-mile Central Corridor Line, which will run between Minneapolis and St. Paul, is 75 percent complete, according to the Pioneer Press. The new cars cost $3.3 million each, according to the Star Tribune.

Eight-hundred and thirty-one Minnesota patients received contaminated steroid injections linked to a national meningitis outbreak, the Star Tribune and Kare11 reported Tuesday.

Nationally, 105 cases of meningitis and eight deaths have been linked to the steroid, according to the Star Tribune. The Minnesota Department of Health confirmed three cases of meningitis linked to the faulty steroid- all women in their mid-40's- but no deaths.

Two Minnesota clinics distributed the injections: Medical Advanced Pain Specialists (MAPS) and the Minnesota Surgery Center. The clinics used the contaminated batches from July until late September.

The steroid products came from a Massachusetts pharmacy, the New England Compounding Center, according to the Star Tribune. The pharmacy recalled all of its products last week.

State health officials contacted patients who received the injections over the weekend. Officials advised those who received the tainted batches to seek medical evaluation, according to the Star Tribune.


Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez defeated challenger Henrique Capriles Sunday to win his fourth term in office, the New York Times and Los Angeles Times reportered Sunday.

The 40-year-old Capriles conceded shortly after the National Election Council reported Sunday night that the 58-year-old Chavez won 54.4% of the popular vote. Chavez recognized the growing strength of the opposition- Capriles won 44.9% of the vote- in his victory speech Sunday night, according to the Star Tribune.

With his victory, Chavez will remain in office until 2019, although all three articles report that his health could impact his ability to finish out the term.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Chavez was diagnosed with abdominal cancer in 2011 and has undergone several surgeries in Cuba and several rounds of chemotherapy. Chavez said in July that he is cancer free.

The socialist Chavez trumpeted his programs for poor people throughout his campaign, according to the New York Times. Throughout his first 14 years in office, Chavez developed social welfare projects that delivered free medical care, housing, education and affordable groceries, according to the Los Angeles Times.


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