October 2011 Archives

Somali Population Rises in Minneapolis

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By Alison Henderson

The Somali population of 32,000 in Minneapolis is still the largest in the nation, according to a Star Tribune report.

New census data from American Community Surveys estimated that the Somali population in Minneapolis has increased by about 5,000 people since 2010.

Other cities with significant Somali populations include Ohio with 12,300, Washington with 9,300 and California with 7,500, according to the Star Tribune report.

The data shows that the rise in Somali population in the city is part of a larger emigration from sub-Saharan Africa. The census estimated roughly 100,000 people have emigrated from the region in recent years.

University of Minnesota student Faduma Abdulle was only one of four families in Minneapolis in 1993, according to a Minnesota Daily report.

"We wish people would come over [to Cedar-Riverside] to get to know the Somali community, and hopefully the University community will welcome us as well," Abdulle told the Daily.

Death Toll Rises in Turkey

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By Alison Henderson

The death toll has risen to over 500 people in Turkey since a 7.2-magnitude earthquake of shook the country on Sunday.

Rescuers said hundreds of bodies are still beneath the rubble, but they are turning their focus to the needs of the survivors who are now battling rain and snow, according to a BBC report.

"They say we will get prefabricated houses in one-and-a-half months," survivor Zeki Yatkin said, in an interview with Reuters. "We can't tolerate the cold, but what else can we do?"

Though help was initially denied, international aid arrived Thursday in cities most impacted by the quake. The Israeli government delivered supplies and several prefabricated houses, according to a New York Times report.

Rescuers also pulled a 13-year-old from the remains of a building 108 hours after the quake. He was seen being carried in a stretcher, appearing to be conscious, according to a Star Tribune report.

Flu Vaccine Found to Be 59 Percent Effective

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By Alison Henderson

Research from the University of Minnesota shows that the flu vaccine is only 59 percent effective in adults under 65, according to a Minnesota Daily report.

This is a significant drop from the 70 to 80 percent effectiveness that the Centers for Disease Control have previously estimated.

The components of the flu vaccine have not changed much since the inception of the vaccine in the 1940s, but still fight against the flu by stimulating the immune system.

Tom Skinner, a spokesman for the CDC said that the vaccine still protects individuals from more serious flu complications, according to the Minnesota Daily report.

Caregivers have not seen a significant decline in the number of people getting vaccinated, according to an MPR report, but some, such as pediatrician Dr. Robert Segal, are worried about the outcome of the news.

"People will either not come in at all to see one of our nurses to get a flu shot and we'll never know they didn't come because they read this and misunderstood or it, or when they do come in are more hesitant," Segal said.

David Golden, director of public health and communications at Boynton said that this study shows the need for more research into the virus and how to increase the efficacy of the vaccine, according to the Daily report.

Obama Proposes Student Loan Solution

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By Alison Henderson

Obama announced a plan to reduce student loan debt at a speech in Denver on Wednesday, according to a Washington Post report.

The program will run from January 1 to June 30, 2012 for students that took out their first loan in 2008 and plan to take out another in 2012.

The "Help Americans Manage Student Loan Debt" proposal will allow graduates to cap their federal student loan debt at 10 percent of their discretionary income. Remaining debt on the loans would be forgiven after 20 years.

This is expected to save graduates hundreds of dollars a month, according to the Washington Post report.

Obama's Domestic policy advisor Melody Barnes said that the initiative is a response to a "We the People" petition signed by 30,000 people and submitted to the White House website.

Despite the projected savings, several student loan groups have criticized the proposal, stating that it doesn't address rising tuition and the lack of well-paying jobs, according to a Reuters report.

"By focusing only on a limited group of students, the proposal does little for borrowers struggling to repay student loans in today's distressed job market," said the Education Finance Council in a prepared response.

Public Meeting Analysis

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By Alison Henderson


A News Star article discusses an upcoming public meeting in Louisana where a public service commissioner will be visiting several parishes in the area.

The article is an advance and focus almost completely on the series of meetings. It does not address any related issues or background for these meetings, but it does include the purpose for the meetings, and the times that they will be held.

The author appears to have talked directly to the commissioner as he is quoted without attribution to any other news source.

Synthetic Drugs Becoming a Federal Problem

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By Alison Henderson

A 21-year-old Blaine man that was charged with third-degree murder is also facing charges by federal prosecutors for purchase of illegal drugs over the internet.

Timothy R. Lamere received a letter on Oct. 4 from federal prosecutors promising to forgo prosecuting if he agrees to plead guilty to third degree murder, according to a Star Tribune report.

Lamere was charged after being accused of supplying 2C-E, a synthetic drug, to several people at a party in Blaine.

Trevor Robinson, 19, died shortly after taking a lethal dose of the drug. Ten others that took the drug were hospitalized, according to the Star Tribune report.

The drug is illegal and may have been bought through an online vendor, according to the report.

Other synthetic drugs, such as synthetic marijuana, are legal to sell in some stores and have become a big problem in Minnesota, according to a ">Duluth News Tribune report.

Lawmakers and enforcement agencies are looking to stop the sale of these drugs, according to the Duluth News Tribune report.

Four Disabled Adults Found Locked In Basement

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By Alison Henderson

Four mentally disabled adults were found locked in the basement of a Philadelphia home Monday night, according to a Reuters report.

The victims were found malnourished and locked in a small room with no bathroom. One victim was chained to a furnace by his legs, according to the Reuters report.

In 1985 one of the accused suspects, Linda Ann Weston, was convicted of starving a 25-year-old to death and served eight years in prison, according to the Reuters report.

Weston, along with Eddie Wright, 50, and Gregory Thomas, 47, were arrested Sunday and charged with assault and kidnapping, according to an NBC report.

Police are also investigating whether the suspects were collecting money from the victims' disability and social security checks.

The victims were taken to the ghfj hospital and are listed in stable condition, according to an LA Times report.

Minneapolis to Upgrade Bus System

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By Alison Henderson

Transit officials in Minneapolis are developing a plan to speed up travel time for buses in the city and surrounding areas.

11 routes will be considered for the plan, which will adapt the bus rapid transit system.
The bus rapid transit system, expected to cost $1 million to $6 million per mile, works like a light rail but is less expensive to establish, according to a Pioneer Press report.

The system would decrease travel time 18 percent by featuring multiple doors, ticket kiosks and fewer stops, according to a Star Tribune Report.

A decision will be made in early 2012 and the first line will be built in 2014, with more lines being built in the following 15 years, according to the Pioneer Press report.

Mommar Qaddafi Killed by Libyan Rebels

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By Alison Henderson
Lybian leader Mommar Qaddafi was killed Thursday near Sirte, after being found in a drainage ditch by rebel leaders, according to a USA Today report.

Reports of his death were uncertain but have been confirmed by pictures, video and by several officials of the National Transitional Council.

"He was killed in an attack by the fighters. There is footage of that," the NTC's information minister, Mahmoud Shammam, said in a Reuters Report.

Abdel Hafez Ghoga, a spokesman from National Transitional Council announced the death, calling it "the end of tyranny and dictatorship."

Lybian prime minister Mahmoud Jibril confirmed the death while speaking at a news conference in Tripoli, according to an Al Arabiya News report.

"We confirm that all the evils, plus Qaddafi, have vanished from this beloved country. I think it's for the Libyans to realize that it's time to start a new Libya, a united Libya, one people, one future," Jibril said.

Fighters celebrated by shooting their guns and hoisting the red, black and green national flag above a building in the center of a Sirte neighborhood, according to the Al Arabiya report.

Multimedia Analysis

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By Alison Henderson
The Los Angeles Times features several stories in picture and video. They allow you to choose a story and scroll through the picture slideshow, often providing video documentation to compliment the photographs. The featured multimedia story is about the World Trade Center. It provides a slide show and a feature article about people linked to Rescue 5 that were impacted by the attacks.

The New York Times offers more variety in terms of interactive media. Not only do they provide audio slide shows and videos, they also include interactive maps and charts to compliment the story.

Most of the multimedia writings provide less text with very brief descriptions, letting the graphics, images or handy mouse roll-overs speak for themselves.

Occupy MN Protest Continues

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By Alison Henderson
Occupy MN protesters marched from the Hennepin County Government Center to TCF Bank to protest the banking industry's roll in the economic downturn, according to an MPR report.

The peaceful protest happening in the Hennepin County Government Center started last Friday. Organizers are now directing their focus toward the banks, and toward more freedom during the protest.

Hennepin County police confiscated almost 30 tents set up by protesters during the demonstration this week, according to a Star Tribune report. Demonstrators said they plan to put up more tents near the U.S. Bank Plaza in the next two days.

The plaza, across the street from the Hennepin County Government Center, is in the in the jurisdiction of Minneapolis police instead of Hennepin County sheriff's deputies. Protesters hope Minneapolis will be more reasonable, organizer Nick Espinosa told the Star Tribune.

Canada Required to Arrest George Bush

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By Alison Henderson
Amnesty International is requiring Canada to arrest George W. Bush on accusations of torture, according to an Al-Jazeera report.

The former President is accused of authorizing "enhanced interrogation techniques" on detainees held by the Central Intelligence Agency, according to a National Post report.

Bush is scheduled to attend an economic summit in Surrey, Canada on October 20, according to the National Post report.

Alex Neve, secretary general of Amnesty International's Canadian branch, told a press conference the group will pursue its case with the governments of other countries the former president might visit.

"Bringing to justice the people responsible for torture is central to that goal. It is the law... And no one, including the man who served as president of the world's most powerful nation for eight years can be allowed to stand above that law," Neve said.

A 1,000-page memorandum cites alleged torture of detainees at the Guantanamo Bay naval facility, in Afghanistan and in Iraq, by the US military, according to the National Post report.

Amnesty's case, outlined in its 1,000-page memorandum, relies on the public record, U.S. documents obtained through access to information requests, Bush's own memoir and a Red Cross report critical of the U.S.'s war on terror policies.

Two Construction Workers Killed After Car Crash

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By Alison Henderson
Two construction workers are dead after being hit by a car and thrown 40-50 feet, along 35W in Burnsville Thursday afternoon, according to a KARE report.

Kirk Deamos, a 21-year-old from Kansas City, Mo., lost control of his car in a construction zone after trying to steer away from a construction wall, state patrol spokesman Eric Roeske said, according to a Star Tribune report.

47-year-old Craig Carlson of Ramsey, was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. The second victim, 44-year-old Ronald Rajkowski of St. Joseph died after being transported to the Hennepin County Medical Center, according to the KARE report.

Neither speed nor alcohol was a factor in the accident, according to Roeske.

Drug Test Becomes Step in Welfare Process

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Three dozen states are considering a law that requires citizens to pass a drug test to receive government benefits, according to a New York Times report.

The law has already passed in Arizona, Florida, Indiana, and Missouri. Kentucky State representative, Lonnie Napier, believes that it is important to ensure that government benefits are being used properly.

"The children in lots of cases are not receiving the benefits of the public assistance. And this is wrong," Napier told NPR.

Criticisms suggest that the requirement challenges Fourth Amendment rights and stereotypes the low-income and unemployed demographic. Others, like State Senate leader Arthenia L. Joyner, believe it is the wrong time, according to the New York Times report.

"There are millions of people seeking aid from the state for the first time because they have lost their jobs and they still have children to feed and bills to pay," Joyner said. "These people now are having to suffer the indignity of having to undergo a drug test."

An earlier pilot project in Florida with similar requirements cost the state almost $3 million, according to Mike Bender, state capitol reporter for Tallahassee bureau of the St. Petersburg Times, in an NPR report.

Difference in Stories

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Though this isn't a hard news story, it is a follow up comparing the first day of the OccupyMN protest to the second day.

The message of each story is relatively the same, in that both articles summarize the event, discuss any problems that are occurring and take quotes from protesters at the event.

The differences in the leads affect the tone of each story. The first lead focuses on the reasoning behind the event and the larger issue at hand. It's presented like an overview or observation of the event.

The second lead immediately introduces one of the protesters and tells her story, making it more of a feature story than a hard news report.

The other difference I find is that the second article focuses on the decreased number of protesters compared to yesterday.

XL Pipeline Debate Continues in Washington

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By Alison Henderson
The final public hearing to debate the 1,700-mile Keystone XL Pipeline, which will transport oil from Canada to Texas, took place Friday in Washington.

Voices of opposition and support were both present during the meeting, according to a report from The Guardian.

The creation of the pipeline is expected to introduce over 120,000 temporary jobs, according to an LA Times report. Supporters argue the project will increase capital and decrease dependence on foreign fuels.

An Environmental Impact Statement issued by the State Department stated that 'no significant impact" would be made, but many fear that present problems like leaks and tar pits, will only get worse.

"Wringing oil out of oil sands is a more intense process than tapping it through a conventional oil well," according to a CNN report. "Oil sands are mined like coal -- in massive open pits. These pits can leech toxins into waterways."

In terms of quality, the process is often compared to wringing out the beer from a bar rug and drinking it.

The debate is dividing Obama's political platform and will challenge supporters based on the administration's decision. Several donors have already threatened to stop support if the pipeline is approved, according to a Washington Post report.

The administration is set to make a final decision by the end of November.

By Alison Henderson
With a record of 1-4 this season, Gopher coach, Jerry Kill stated that the poor performance of the Gopher football team is a result of poor recruiting and training.

In a press conference earlier this week, Coach Kill spoke about the state of the football program, with several comments directed at the previous coaching methods, according to a Minnesota Daily report.

"You have to recruit tough, you don't make them tough. You have to recruit tacklers," Kill said.

Former coach, Tim Brewster responded to criticism by disputing the claims.

"All I know is this: I believe in the players that I recruited at the University of Minnesota," Brewster said Tuesday. "I believe in them. It's a great group of young men that are committed to making the University of Minnesota the best it can be on the football field," according to the Pioneer Press.

The football team has suffered because of personal limitations, including a lack of discipline and academic ineligibility, according to the Minnesota Daily. However, Coach Kill hopes to turn the Gophers into a lasting Big Ten competitor.

The 99 Percent Protest Occupies Minnesota

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By Alison Henderson
Hundreds are gathered for OccupyMN on the Hennepin County Government Center plaza in downtown Minneapolis to protest inequalities in the American economic sector.

The protest, part of the national "Occupy Wall Street" movement, has attracted several visitors including former Gov. Jesse Ventura, Mayor R.T. Rybak, Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek and U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, according to a Star Tribune report.

Well into day two of what is said to be an indefinite protest, many have set up blankets to occupy the space overnight and into the next week. The end of the protest is undetermined; organizers expect the protest to last as long as needed.

Authorities and organizers are working together to ensure no police interference is needed, according to a KSTP report. Organizers plan to have a peaceful demonstration.

Apple Legend Steve Jobs Dies

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By Alison Henderson

Steve Jobs, co-founder and visionary of Apple Inc., died Wednesday at age 56, after an eight-year battle with pancreatic cancer.

Jobs passed weeks after resigning from his position at Apple Inc. in late August because of health concerns.

"I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple's CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come," he said in a letter announcing his resignation, according to a Reuters report.

News of Jobs' death spurred immediate reactions on social media websites like Facebook and Twitter.

Rachael Horowitz, Twitter spokesperson reported that after Jobs' death was announced, Twitter was receiving 6049 tweets per second, according to a Computer World article.

Introducing the iPod, iPhone, and iTunes among other widely used technologies Jobs changed the way computers are used. His unconventional style was reflected in his work. Even the name Apple is an example of his ingenuity.

"In an era when engineers and hobbyists tended to describe their machines with model numbers, he chose the name of a fruit, supposedly because of his dietary habits at the time," according to the New York Times.

Amanda Knox Guilty or Not?

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By Alison Henderson
The final verdict of the Amanda Knox trial was declared Monday, but the verdict differed depending on the paper.

Knox was declared not guilty of murder, but several online reports stated that she lost the appeal against her murder conviction, according to a CNN report.

The Daily Mail received the most criticism after posting a full-length article describing the verdict in detail.

"Amanda Knox looked stunned this evening after she dramatically lost her prison appeal against her murder conviction," said The Daily Mail article.

The URL to the article still exists, but the content has been taken down.

The Guardian made a similar mistake in a live blog, but the information was quickly corrected and apologies were made shortly after, according to a report from the Washington Post.

SEO consultant Malcolm Coles suggested in his blog that the reports were most likely a result of fast reporting, and posted when Knox was found guilty of slander.

"In their attempt to be first with the verdict on Amanda Knox, the Mail Online published its pre-written story the moment the judge said the word guilty," said Coles.

Structure Analysis

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Here is a simple Star Tribune report about a collision between a bus and car found in the "West Metro" section of the website.

Because the incident had no deaths, the story is extremely short and the sentences are concise.

The lead and the refresher quickly provide the who, what, when and where details of the story. This approach is simple and effective, however the following paragraphs of the story seem out of order.

A quote from the district's website about injuries is followed by an unimportant detail from the report about bus delays. The next paragraph refers to injuries again and the final paragraph provides details about how the incident happened.

I think it would have been more effective to bunch similar information, such as details about the injuries, together rather than peppering them throughout the report. I'm sure for a story that is not very news worthy, less attention is paid to the order of information blocks.

By Alison Henderson
Facebook's continued changes in automatically shared information are becoming a concern on a personal level, and on a larger scale.

New Facebook features, including the Timeline feature, automatically offer personal information to other users. Tracking cookies are used to monitor activity and correlate user interests.

Two congressmen and ten consumer and privacy groups have asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate these new techniques, according to an ABC report.

Facebook representatives maintain their dedication to user security. However, several Internet experts are concerned that users will be subject to scams and information theft.

"This will make it a lot easier to obtain valuable information about an individual," Caitlin Cosoi, an researcher at anti-virus firm Bitdefender, told ABC.

Tracking occurs even after users have logged off the website, according to an MSNBC report. Any website with a "like button" will send information back to Facebook.

A Facebook statement last Thursday claimed that there was "no security or privacy breach," according to the MSNBC report.

By Alison Henderson
Facebook's continued changes in automatically shared information are becoming a concern on a personal level, and on a larger scale.

New Facebook features, including the Timeline feature, automatically offer personal information to other users. Tracking cookies are used to monitor activity and correlate user interests.

Two congressmen and ten consumer and privacy groups have asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate these new techniques, according to an ABC report.

Facebook representatives maintain their dedication to user security. However, several Internet experts are concerned that users will be subject to scams and information theft.

"This will make it a lot easier to obtain valuable information about an individual," Caitlin Cosoi, an researcher at anti-virus firm Bitdefender, told ABC.

Tracking occurs even after users have logged off the website, according to an MSNBC report. Any website with a "like button" will send information back to Facebook.

A Facebook statement last Thursday claimed that there was "no security or privacy breach," according to the MSNBC report.

Local Mosque Hosts Day of Dignity Block Party

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By Alison Henderson
On Saturday hundreds of people in Minneapolis joined Day of Dignity, a nation-wide effort to help people in need.

To celebrate "Day of Dignity," Masjid Ad-Nur, a mosque in Minneapolis, sponsored a block party to bring members of the Muslim community together.

As one of 15 events across the country, the Minneapolis block party was set up to provide supplies and services to members of the community.

It was also an opportunity to better understand the Islamic tradition of sadaqah, meaning "volunteer charity."

"It really is an expression of our faith tradition, which I think we share in common with other faith traditions -- to really be of service to humanity, to mankind and the fundamental belief that everyone should be able to live a dignified life," Makram El-Amin told KARE.

Hip hop artists like Brother Ali and Freeway also took part in the event, hoping to attract a more diverse crowd.

"It would be really special for me to have my fans actually able to see where I'm really from. They'll see that it's not like rap videos," Ali told the Minnesota Daily.

School District Adopts Anti-bullying Campaign

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By Alison Henderson
In an attempt to address GLBT-targeted bullying, Anoka-Hennepin School District has established an anti-bullying campaign and a sexual orientation curriculum.

The campaign, Know NO! Know, follows lawsuits, a federal investigation and other issues related to GLBT-targeted bullying within the school district, according to a report from the Star Tribune .

Teachers serve as a watchful eye and are expected to enforce a zero-tolerance bullying policy. They are also expected to handle the sexual orientation curriculum in a neutral manner.

The neutrality policy is a "reasonable way to balance the family ideologies seen in the suburban Minneapolis district," according to a USA Today report.

Though it has taken hold, the campaign is controversial, and many express concerns.

Becky Marshall, a science teacher at Anoka Middle School for the Arts and mentor for the school's Gay Straight Alliance (GSA), said teachers are learning how to appropriately address the issue without repercussions from parents.

"We know how to deal with bullying; we don't know how to deal with being neutral. There's a fear there, and it would be so much better if ... there was that confidence to stand up and say, I support these students, no matter what," Marshall told the Star Tribune.

The district is looking at concerns from students, teachers and community members as it moves forward with this process.

Denmark Implements "Fat Tax" on Comfort Food

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By Alison Henderson
Consumers in Denmark now have to pay a tax on comfort food containing more than 2.3 percent saturated fat.

The tax, deemed the "fat tax," is the first of its kind. It aims to limit the amount of fatty foods purchased and eaten in the country; it also seeks to add 1.5 billion kroner to state taxes, according to a report from the Copenhagen Post.

Charging 16 kroner per kilogram of saturated fat, the price increase targets staple foods like oils, and dairy products. The price of butter will increase by 14.1 percent, according to the Copenhagen report. Many feel the tax discriminates against lower income families, according to an NPR report.

It is unsure whether the tax will actually decrease the amount of fatty foods consumed. Some stocked up before the tax was implemented, others are expected to shop abroad, according to a BBC report.

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This page is an archive of entries from October 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

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