September 2011 Archives

Eight Afghan police officers killed

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by Sarah Harper

Eight Afghan police officers were shot dead early Wednesday in an area of Afghanistan where security is being passed from NATO to Afghan control.

Officials said the Taliban is responsible for the shooting, which happened near Lashkar Gah at a checkpoint in the southern province of Helmand, according to BBC News.

The Associated Press reports that prior to the attack, one police officer went missing from his post. His involvement is being investigated, authorities said.

Lashkar Gah is one of seven areas where security control is being transferred to Afghan powers.

The Taliban is trying to undermine the authority of Afghan security forces during the transition, said the BBC's Bilal Sarwary.


Note: BBC News reported that the incident happened Tuesday night. The Associated Press reported that the incident happened early Wednesday. In the AP story, the time is described as "pre-dawn."

Minneapolis to hold a SlutWalk

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by Sarah Harper

Minneapolis will hold its first SlutWalk Saturday.

According to the Pioneer Press, the goal of the protest march is to discourage people from blaming victims of sexual violence.

Kimberia Sherva organized the event after noticing that Minneapolis was not one of the dozens of cities around the world hosting SlutWalks, reports the Twin Cities Daily Planet.

More than 600 people will walk across the Hennepin Avenue and Stone Arch bridges.

The SlutWalk movement is a response to a Toronto police officer who told a group of women that they should not dress like "sluts" if they did not want to be victimized, according to the Pioneer Press.

Some SlutWalkers will dress in lingerie, short skirts, high heels and other "slutty" attire in an attempt to re-appropriate the word "slut."

by Sarah Harper

An Atlanta Journal-Constitution story about a religious leader's response to Troy Davis' death used five sources.

All five sources used in "Ebenezer pastor continues fight against death penalty" are named, but some facts are attributed to entities rather than specific people.

For example, the family of murdered police officer Mark MacPhail is sourced, but no specific names are given. The Board of Pardons and Paroles is used as a source, similarly without the involvement of any specific person.

Records are used as well - U.S. District Judge William T. Moore's 174-page ruling on Troy Davis is referenced.

Two of the sources used were specific people - Ebenezer pastor Rev. Raphael Warnock and church member Brenda Davenport were both quoted.

The sources are comfortably scattered throughout the story. The writer, April Hunt, does not crowd too many sources into a small amount of paragraphs. From beginning to end, the sources are spread evenly.

A reader does not get confused about which pieces of information come from which source because Hunt, refreshes the reader's awareness of where her information comes from often. Thus, the sources are arranged in an effective way.

Women will have more political rights in Saudi Arabia

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by Sarah Harper

Saudi Arabia's king said Sunday that women will be given the right to vote and the right to run for local office in 2015, according to the Associated Press.

According to BBC News, King Abdullah gave the historic speech in front of the Shura Council, which will soon be composed of females as well as males.

Many feel that this move is a step forward, but some are skeptical that women's freedoms will still be limited by restrictions such as the guardianship system - a system in which women cannot participate in public life without permission from a male relative, according to BBC News.

In addition, many women are irritated by the prospect of waiting four years for rights when the next local election will be held Thursday, reports the Associated Press.

The Associated Press reports that Saudi feminist Wajeha al-Hawaidar said, "Why not tomorrow?"

Minnetonka college student lost in India

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by Sarah Harper

Search parties have not been able to find the body of a young Minnetonka man who fell Thursday while on a hike in India, reported the Associated Press.

Tom Plotkin, a 20-year-old studying abroad for a semester, was hiking on a trail with five students near Munsiyari, India when twisted his ankle and fell over 100 yards by the Ganges River.

According to the Star Tribune, a group of 600 Indian military personnel, volunteers and police officers have been searching for the University of Iowa junior's body.

Because it is the rainy season, the flooded Ganges is too dangerous for search boats.

Phil Forve, a family friend, said that Plotkin's jacket and head lamp were found, according to the Star Tribune.

Forve said that the search was an attempt to find Plotkin's body.

Mahdi Ali found guilty in triple homicide

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by Sarah Harper

Minnesota Public Radio News has reported that an 18-year-old man was found guilty Friday in connection with the killing of three men at the Seward Market.

Mahdi Ali shot Osman Elmi, Mohamed Warfa and Anwar Mohamed at the Minneapolis market nearly two years ago, reports the Star Tribune.

Ahmed Ali will serve 18 years in prison for acting as Mahdi Ali's accomplice.

The Star Tribune reported that Mahdi Ali's aunt, Ayan Abukar, said the verdict was unfair because Ali was only 15 years old at the time of the killings.

However, Ali's driver's license said that he was 17 years old. Thus, he was charged as an adult and will probably spend his whole life in prison.

Obama prepares to waive parts of No Child Left Behind

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by Sarah Harper

The White House released a plan Thursday that will free states from certain provisions of No Child Left Behind, according to the New York Times.

President Obama's new policy will allow states to adopt new academic standards instead of being bound by the 2014 deadline for proficiency in reading and math.

The Washington Post reports that Obama will bypass Congress to overturn what was the Bush administration's signature education law.

However, this move is winning praise from governors across the country who have been unable to meet the demands of No Child Left Behind.

The new academic standards that schools will have to adopt could include linking teacher evaluation to student success and the expansion of charter schools, according to the Washington Post.

The New York Times reports that states who want the relief from No Child Left Behind will have to qualify by crafting detailed plans for raising their schools' academic standards.

One survives plane crash in Nepal, 18 dead

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by Sarah Harper

A plane with 19 people on board crashed Sunday in Nepal, according to a report by the Associated Press.

The Buddha Air plane was carrying 19 people from Mount Everest and tried to land in thick fog, but instead crashed in Bisankunarayan village.

Fox News reports that one survivor was found in the wreckage of the plane, which ended up near Godavari on the Katmandu Valley.

The other 18 people aboard the craft, 16 of whom were foreign tourists, are assumed dead.

According to the AP, eyewitness Haribol Poudel told Avenues Television that it was foggy when the plane hit the roof of a house.

Analysis: How the lead works in Star Tribune story

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by Sarah Harper

The straightforward hard-news lead of a story from the Minneapolis Star Tribune summarizes the article for readers.

The writer, Tom Meersman, incorporated several news elements into this lead, including proximity and conflict.

Meersman gives the detail that the units will be near Lake Minnetonka. This information exemplifies the news element of proximity - the Star Tribune is published in Minneapolis. Readers care about nearby news. The addition of the Lake Minnetonka detail is a signal to readers that this story is about something near to them. If Meersman had not included the name Lake Minnetonka, he may have lost the attention of a few readers.

Meersman generally included the conflict in the lead by mentioning that the development had "passed a major hurdle." He devoted significant attention to the conflict later in the story, but he did not go into specifics in the first sentence. Meersman's choice to be general about conflict eliminated the danger of wordiness and overwhelming length. However, the hint of conflict in the lead may entice readers to follow through with the rest of the article.

Birth control pills recalled due to packaging error

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by Sarah Harper

Alabama company Qualitest Pharmaceuticals recalled "multiple lots" of birth-control pills because of a packaging error, reported CBS News.

The error, a reversal of the weekly tablet orientation, obscured lot numbers and expiration dates on packages.

A spokesman for the Huntsville-based company said that "there are no immediate health issues currently," reported
CNN.

However, the company is concerned that women may become pregnant after unintentionally misusing the birth control pills.

According to CNN, 1.4 million distributed packages are involved in the nationwide voluntary recall.

Arizona air base locked down

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by Sarah Harper

An air base in Tucson, Ariz., was put under lockdown for six hours Friday while officials investigated a report of a man with a gun, according to the Arizona Republic.

KVOA Tucson reported that a man was seen carrying an M-16 into a building on the air base.

According to The Associated Press, no shots were ever fired at the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

Col. John Cherrey, commander of the base, said that he thoroughly searched the base and found no gunman.

According to KVOA , movement on the base was minimized for the lockdown - schools were locked down and traffic in and out of the air base was controlled.

by Sarah Harper

An 18-year-old Minneapolis man was charged Friday with attempted murder in connection with the July shooting of two Minneapolis police officers.

The two police officers were shot at while sitting in their squad car near the intersection of Penn and Lowry avenues, according to the Star Tribune.

Malo Dashaunta Gomez, a documented member of the Stick Up Boys street gang, was heard bragging about a shooting by police, reports KARE 11.

Gomez was discovered to already be in the Hennepin County Jail on other charges, according to KARE 11.

The Star Tribune reports that Gomez admitted to the crime and said that he shot the police officers because he was bored.

Farmer charged with killing protected pelican chicks

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by Sarah Harper

A Minnesota farmer was charged Thursday with destroying hundreds of federally-protected pelican chicks on the land he rents, according to United Press International.

Craig L. Staloch, 59, was told in May not to disturb the 1,458 nests on his land by Lisa Gelvin-Innvaer, a wildlife specialist from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), reports the Star Tribune.

The day after Staloch was told not to disturb the nests, Gelvin-Innvaer returned to his farm with experts from the University of Minnesota to conduct a pelican count.

According to the Star Tribune, the indictment read that the eggs seemed to have been smashed "by a heavy stick or a forceful object."

Staloch is accused of killing or trying to kill the pelicans, UPI reports.

According to Stein Innvaer, Gelvin-Innvaer's husband and DNR agent, farmers dislike pelicans because their feet and droppings damage crop land, reports the Star Tribune.

Bus and trains crash kills 11 in Buenos Aires

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by Sarah Harper

Eleven people died when a bus and two trains collided Tuesday in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

CNN International reported that one train derailed after colliding with a bus. It then collided with a second train on an opposite track.

At least 228 people were injured in the accident, according to CNN International.

Transport Secretary Juan Pablo Schiavi said that most of the fatalities occurred on the bus, according to BBC News.

Time World reports that Schiavi said that children were among the injured. The crash happened in the Flores neighborhood at 6:15 a.m., when many parents take their children to school on public transportation.

According to Time World, 440 people and 165 vehicles were hit by trains last year in Buenos Aires.

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