Scientists discover 18 new planets

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by Sarah Harper

Caltech scientists have uncovered 18 Jupiter-sized planets in distant solar systems, they wrote in a scientific journal Saturday.

The 18 new planets are orbiting around stars larger than the sun, reported KTLA News.

KESQ Pasadena reported that the scientists used the twin telescopes at the Keck Observatory on the Big Island of Hawaii.

According to KESQ, this discovery is the first such observation to be made from Earth.

Caltech announced that the discovery was published in the December issue of The Astrophysical Journal Supplement, according to KTLA.

Drug study on Hennepin County Jail's male inmates released

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by Sarah Harper

Nearly 70 percent of men booked into the Hennepin County Jail tested positive for illegal drug use prior to arrest, according to a new federal study released Tuesday.

The Minnesota Daily reported that there was an increase in prescription drug abuse. The study was conducted on behalf of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

The biggest shift in drug use occurred for men ages 21 and younger, with an increase in Oxycodone use, according to CBS Minnesota.

For men of all ages, multiple illegal drugs were found in 18.6 percent of inmate men, according to the Minnesota Daily.

The Minnesota Daily reported that marijuana was the most commonly detected drug at 53.1 percent.

Police stop Occupy D.C. construction

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by Sarah Harper

Police have arrested several Occupy D.C. protesters who had started building what appeared to be a small barn in a park two blocks from the White House Sunday.

Police told protesters that they needed a permit and that they had an hour to disassemble it, according to USA Today.

This resulted in an hourslong standoff between police and protesters, during which about two dozen protesters were arrested, reported USA Today.

The New York Times wrote that the police brought in a cherry picker to get the protesters off the roof and an air mattress so they could land safely.

Protesters chanted, "We are stronger than your trucks and your horses and your riot gear and your orders," according to the New York Times.

World War II bomb defused in German city

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by Sarah Harper

Around 45,000 people evacuated their homes so that bomb disposal experts could defuse two World War II bombs in Koblenz, Germany Sunday.

The bombs, originally dropped by U.S. forces, were found in the Rhine River when water levels fell because of a prolonged dry spell, according to BBC News. Germany is full of unexploded British and American bombs.

According to Reuters, the bigger of the two bombs weighed in at 1.8 tons, making it one of the biggest ever found.

Homes, hospitals and a prison in a one mile area around the bomb were evacuated, reported Reuters.

The area had to be dry before the experts could begin working. After the water was pumped out of the river, the operation took three hours, according to the BBC.

by Sarah Harper

Someone stole over $1,000 worth of gifts from a non-profit organization in Golden Valley early Thursday, but people donated enough gifts to cover the loss by Thursday afternoon.

KARE-11 reported the story of the theft on Thursday.

Someone smashed a window at The Family Partnership in Golden Valley and stole over $1,000 worth of gifts meant for families in north Minneapolis, reported KARE-11.

The Star Tribune reported that the Family Partnership put a list of stolen items on its website. The loss was covered and seven additional families had holiday gifts.

Golden Valley police are still investigating the theft, reported the Star Tribune.

by Sarah Harper

The New York Daily News published a story Saturday called "Jews vow to fight back as Brooklyn bias crimes spur a Jewish Power movement."

I discussed this story with two University of Minnesota students, Julia and Charlotte. They did not want their last names to be included. They both live in Minneapolis. They're familiar with the cultural group because they are part of it -- Julia and Charlotte are Jewish and are active in the religious groups on campus. Talking to them helped me understand the article from their perspective.

The story does not exploit any stereotypes. Rather, it starts off substantive and stays that way. The writer, Simone Weichselbaum, informs the story by including information about the history of Jewish people in Brooklyn.

Weichselbaum uses observation as a main source, but that doesn't mean that she observes the Jewish people in a judging way. She does not tell a story about who they are, she tells a story about what is happening with them.

Julia, Charlotte and I appreciated that the reporter used quotes to color the story, but we wished she had used even more.

The only problem is in the first paragraph, where Weichselbaum wrote, "The recent hate crimes against Jews across Brooklyn has ignited a movement pushing them to toughen up and learn how to fight back." This sentence presents a problem only to the most careful of eyes, because writing that Jewish people have been pushed to toughen up implies that they weren't tough in the first place.

Besides that small detail, the writer truly is fair to the cultural group.

Conservatives win in Spain

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by Sarah Harper

Spaniards showed their support for the conservative Popular Party in Sunday's elections, ending eight years of Socialist government.

The New York Times reported that according to the official results, the Socialists lost 59 seats to the Popular Party, which appeared to have won a governing majority. The Popular party won 186 seats of the 350-seat lower house of Parliament.

Spaniards hope that the Popular Party, led by Mariano Rajoy, will help them face problems caused by Europe's debt crisis. These problems include falling property values, unbearable debt and the collapse of the construction sector, according to the New York Times.

Reuters reported that Spain is experiencing the European Union's highest unemployment rate, with 5 million people out of work.

The Popular Party won the biggest majority of any party in 30 years, according to Reuters.

Iran news agency chief sentenced to a year in prison

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by Sarah Harper

The press adviser to the president of Iran was sentenced to a year in prison on the charge of "publishing materials contrary to Islamic norms," the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported Sunday.

Ali-Akbar Javanfekr, who is also the chief of the IRNA, was banned from doing any journalistic activity for three years, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

The Associated Press
reported that Javanfekr wrote that the practice of women wearing the head-to-toe black garment known as the chador was an imported practice, not an originally Iranian one.

Javanfekr has 20 days to appeal the sentence -- and his lawyer, Abdollah Nakhaei, said he will definitely appeal the verdict.

According to the Associated Press, Javanfekr is one of many of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's political backers who have been targeted by hard-line opponents recently.

by Sarah Harper

Top school officials in St. Paul will not experience increases in their health benefits or salaries for the next two years as a result of a compensation plan approved Tuesday.

The school board approved the contract for administrators, which will last until June 2013, according to the Star Tribune.

Administrators will be able to cash in five earned vacation days to get a $2,350 increase in their professional development allowances, which the district says will ease the pain of the pay freeze, reported the Pioneer Press.

The district and teachers are now in negotiations for a contract, which the district expects to approve in the spring, according to the Star Tribune.

The Star Tribune also reports that the board approved a budget that resulted in the loss of 345 jobs, the consolidation of programs and the reorganization of the administration.

St. Paul rape and robbery results in 27 years of jail time

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by Sarah Harper

A man was sentenced Thursday to more than 27 years in prison after he was convicted of raping and robbing a transgender person in St. Paul.

Demetrius Jermaine Miller, 33, was given a 23-year sentence for the rape charge and four years for aggravated robbery, reported KSTP-TV.

The Star Tribune reported that Miller decided to represent himself before Ramsey County District Judge Rosanne Nathanson.

The victim, a 27-year-old woman transitioning to become a man, testified about being beaten, robbed and raped in an alley behind a gas station in the 1300 block of W. University Avenue, reported the Star Tribune.

"As God is my witness: I am innocent. There is no way I would rape a girl who looks like a man," Miller said to Nathanson in court, according to the Star Tribune.