November 2011 Archives

Diversity Analysis

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A report from the Minnesota Daily covers the Indian Student Association (ISA) celebration of Diwali.

I spoke with Avanthi, a member of ISA, about this article because when I read it, I felt like it was a good representation of the holiday and its traditions, but I wanted to see how she felt.

She also said the group was well represented. We agreed that the story was told through quotes from members of the group. Observations that were made by the reporter were backed up with an explanation of their meaning. For example, the reporter explained that the two parts were to represent the fact that not everyone celebrates the same way. This was one observation that Avanthi felt was especially important to represent the holiday.

Occupy MN Protest Moves to Foreclosed Home

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By Alison Henderson

Two people were arrested Saturday night on the 3300 block of 25th Ave. South in Minneapolis during an Occupy Minnesota rally.

The protesters were charged with trespassing in a foreclosed home that is being used as a platform for demonstration, according to a Fox 9 report.

Police entered the home to board up windows as protesters linked arms around the house chanting: "Banks got bailed out, we got sold out! Stop foreclosures now," according to a Minnesota Daily report.

The house belonged to university lecturer, Sara Kaiser, who thanked the protesters for protecting her house on OccupyMN livestream. Police said they are waiting to hear from the realtor and the bank since both can make a citizens arrest, according to the Fox 9 report.

A post from the OccupyMN Facebook page stated "City attorney says they can't prove who owns the house so we can't be evicted for now!"

Uprising in Egypt Against Military Council

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By Alison Henderso

Thousands of demonstrators fled Tahrir Square in Cairo Sunday as police fired tear gas into the crowd of people.

Three citizens were killed during the protest according to a CNN report. Health ministry spokesman Dr. Adel al-Dawi said one was trampled and two were killed by blows to the head.

The protest, reminiscent of the uprising in late February, was targeted at the military council and its leader, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, according to the CNN report.

The protest began Saturday and filled Tahrir Square by noon on Sunday, according to the CNN report. As the movement gained momentum, police fired tear gas and rubber bullets, and made several arrests.

Demonstrators set up a makeshift hospital to aid the several hundred that were injured during the uprising, according to a New York Times report.

Gen. Mohsen Fungary, a spokesman for the ruling military council, blamed demonstrators and an unnamed satellite show for the violence in a TV interview Saturday night. He suggested protestors were "enemies" of Egypt, according to the New York Times report. "The youth are blinded to the reality of the situation," he said.

A Sky News video shows security forces acting against the uprising with tear gas, rubber bullets and fires. Protesters chanted "The people want to topple their regime," according to the Sky News report.

Vikings Player Charged With Domestic Felony Assault

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By Alison Henderson

Vikings cornerback Chris Cook was arrested Tuesday for allegedly strangling his girlfriend during a fight, according to a USA Today report.

The 24-year-old football player was suspended but is still getting paid his weekly salary, $190,000 for the last eight games of the season, according to a Star Tribune blog.

A statement released Tuesday explained the Viking's reaction to the allegations.

"Today's allegations against Chris Cook are very disturbing and disappointing. At this time, he is suspended without pay from the team while we continue to gather information regarding the situation," the statement said according to the USA Today report.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said at a news conference that state guidelines call for a sentence of a year and a day, according to the USA Today report.

The Viking's player is scheduled to appear in court November 22 on allegations of strangulation. His future with the Vikings is unclear, according to a CBS Sports report.

Cook apologized to friends, family and Vikings staff and fans on Twitter. He also said "There's always two sides to a story!!," according to the USA Today report.

Sparboe Farms Facing Allegations of Animal Cruelty

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By Alison Henderson

An undercover video documenting severe animal cruelty cost Minnesota-based Sparboe Farms its partnership with McDonald's and Target.

The video, filmed by animal rights group Mercy for Animals, caught one worker swinging a chicken by a chain, and another stuffing a hen in his pocket.

The FDA cited the egg company with "serious" and "significant violations," of salmonella prevention regulation and unsatisfactory rodent control, according to a Star Tribune report.

"This is a warning that there is a systemic problem, not just at one barn or one location," former FDA food safety chief David Acheson said in an ABC News report.

In a reaction statement released, McDonald's said it's decision to drop the company was based on concerns about poor management.

"McDonald's expects all of our suppliers to meet our stringent requirements for delivering high quality food prepared in a humane and responsible manner," the company said in the ABC report.

Sparboe president Beth Sparboe Schnell, said in a statement that she "was deeply saddened . . . because this isn't who Sparboe Farms is. Acts depicted in the footage are totally unacceptable and are completely at odds with our values as egg farmers. In fact, they are in direct violation of our animal care code of conduct," according to the Star Tribune report.

Federal authorities said they will be increasing inspection and enforcement of food regulations, according to the ABC News report.

TransCanada Agrees to Reroute Pipeline

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By Alison Henderson

At a news conference in Nebraska Monday, TransCanada announced its plans to reroute the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline.

The pipeline would have carried oil from the Alberta tar sands in Canada to refineries in Texas, travelling over the Ogallala Aquifer in Nebraska.

As one of the world's largest aquifers, the 174,000-mile water table is a main source of drinking water and irrigation for farmers in the Grain Belt.

After a new route is selected an environmental assessment will be completed, a process that is expected to set the project back by 12 to 18 months, according to a New York Times report.

A bill on the pipeline, offering up to $2 million from the state for a new environmental survey, is moving through the Nebraska legislature and will be voted on for a second time on Friday, according to a Reuters report.

Nebraska Gov. Heineman said Tuesday that he hoped Nebraska legislation would expedite the environmental impact statement for the Keystone pipeline.

"We support the pipeline, but we were opposed to the route through the Sandhills," Heineman said in the Reuters report. "The State Department heard our concerns and TransCanada has heard us."

By Alison Henderson

US Major League baseball player, Wilson Ramos returned home Friday after being abducted in Venezuela two days earlier, according to a BBC report.

Ramos, a 24-year-old catcher for the Washington Nationals, was in Venezuela to play in the winter league. His air rescue in the mountain zone was authorized by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, according to the BBC report.

Abductions are a problem for the Venezuelan government, who's statistics show that 895 kidnappings were reported last year, according to a NPR report.

Ramos said he was rescued during a shootout.

"There was a lot of gunfire," he said during a celebration of his on Saturday. "I got under the bed, prayed and cried."

Ramos was greeted by friends and family when he returned. His mother wrapped her arms around him, crying, "How good God is," according to the NPR report.

Numbers Analysis

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An article from the Reedsburg Times Press effectively uses numbers to describe survey results about the education system in Wisconsin.

Since the article uses overwhelming and shocking numbers, such as cutting "3,400 education positions this year, triple the number from last year," the story works well as a follow-up months after funding for Wisconsin's schools was cut.

The story is fairly comprehensive because it sources the survey itself, and the Legislative Fiscal Bureau and Senate Education Committee for numbers that are missing from the survey information.

Gas Leak Leads to Evacuation of University Housing

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By Alison Henderson

Police evacuated residents of the Como Student Community Cooperative near St. Paul Tuesday due to a gas leak.

A front-end loader ruptured a pipeline while digging in the university housing parking lot, according to a report from The Republic.

A Metro Transit bus arrived to house the 40 people who were evacuated from the complex during the leak, according to the report.

"[The situation] could be dangerous, but it's hard to say, because we're so used to it," a CenterPoint Energy spokesperson said in a Minnesota Daily report.

Evacuees were allowed back in around 1 p.m., an hour after the pipe was ruptured. No one was hurt, according to The Republic report.

By Alison Henderson

To cut spending in the agricultural sector, Congress is creating a new farm bill that would protect corn and soybean farmers from falling crop prices.

The bill would provide subsidies in the form of free insurance to the farmers when revenue drops or weather damages crops, according to a Fox News report.

Opponents, including environmental groups, conservatives and the American Farm Bureau, say the subsidies would pay billions of dollars to farmers that are already receiving record high incomes, according to the report.

Jon Doggett of the National Corn Growers Association said the bill is designed to cost less than current subsidy programs.

"Large crops like corn, soybeans and wheat are so integral to so many other parts of the food chain," Doggett said in the Fox News report. "You want to provide some sort of stability in that food chain."

The super committee that crafting the bill missed their self-implemented deadline of Nov. 1, because majority and minority leaders failed to reach a final agreement, according to an MPR report.

Negotiators are looking at problems raised by critics, including the potential to overpay farmers when crop prices are high, according to the Fox report.

"We have a responsibility to the American people to use their resources wisely and to provide assistance only when it's needed," U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in an Associated Press report.

17 Minneapolis Fires Under Investigation

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By Alison Henderson

Police say a string of 17 suspected arson fires were set Friday night near West River Parkway, according to a Star Tribune report.

The fires were started on vehicles, garages, a dumpster, a retaining wall and piles of leaves between 8:30 p.m. and 12:30 a.m., according to the report.

Up to 40 officers patrolled Snelling Avenue South, 32nd Street East and 45th Street East and questioned people in the area. No arrests were made, however one person was booked for an unrelated misdemeanor, according to an MPR report.

Police spokesman Sgt. Bill Palmer said the Minneapolis arson squad is investigating the fires.

"This is probably going to be solved by the public coming forward with some information for us," Palmer said in the MPR report.

New Census Data Shows Rise in Poverty

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The overall poverty rate in the U.S. is at 16 percent, according to new data from the Census Bureau.

The data was collected using a new poverty measure that takes living expenses, medical costs, government aid and regional differences into consideration.

Revealing an increase from the official poverty measure, the new data also showed higher poverty rates for Asians, Hispanics and the elderly, according to a Reuters report.

The rate of poverty among elderly rose from 9 percent to 15.9 percent because of Medicare and out-of-pocket medical expenses, according to an NPR report.

Dave Cooper of the Economic Policy Institute said the data shows that the social safety net is not doing as much as hoped.

"The programs we have right now are, if anything, inadequate," Cooper said in the Reuters report.

Government officials acknowledge flaws in the measurement and say it is a work in progress, according to the NPR report.

UN Reports Urgency of Climate Change in Developing Nations

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By Alison Henderson

An annual report from the United Nations stated that environmental trends will threaten the development of poor nations by 2050 if drastic action is not taken.

The report warns that poorer nations are most vulnerable to issues like polluted water, droughts and typhoons, which impact farming and lead to increased hunger and poverty.

"The key finding of the report is that the very impressive long-term development progress that we have been able to document in low-income countries in recent decades may slow down or even be reversed unless we, as a world community, come to terms with these central environmental challenges," William Orme, who oversees publication of the report, said in a Washington Post report.

Prosperous nations are being criticized for failing to meet their stated pledges "including promises made by the G-8, the European Union and the United Nations to give $100 billion a year by 2020 to fight the impact of climate change in developing countries," according to the Washington Post report.

The report titled Sustainability and Equity: A Better Future for All, calls for aid in the form of financial assistance, electricity, improved healthcare and an international currency trading tax, according to an LA Times report.

An annual United Nations conference will take place in Rio de Janeiro next June to discuss international solutions to present and future environmental issues.

Snowstorm in Northeast Causes Extended Power Outage

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By Alison Henderson

Thousands of residents in the Northeast may face another week without power after a snowstorm swept the region last week.

The storm, barreled through several states including Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and New Jersey. 60 mph winds knocked uprooted trees into power lines, according to a New York Times report.

Connecticut Light & Power said it will get close to its goal to restore 99 percent of its customer power Sunday, according to a CBS News report.

Many, who have been without power for eight days, are staying at friend's homes, shopping malls and movie theaters, according to a Star Tribune report.

Power is expected to be restored by Sunday night, according to the CBS News report.

Obit Analysis

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By Alison Henderson

The obituary for Andy Rooney on the New York Times website has a standard New York Times style lead but placed the age in the second paragraph. The standard approach works, but an alternative lead could have fit based on the character of Andy Rooney.

The article relies largely on CBS News and quotes previously made by Rooney for sourcing. Other information is not sourced because the article focuses on facts and statements that were most likely made publicly during his career at CBS.

"He once concluded that 'it is possible to be dumb and be a college president,' but he acknowledged that 'most college students are not as smart as most college presidents," the obituary said.

This obituary differs from a resume because it focuses more on Rooney's character than his accomplishments.

Coal Ash Spill Sparks EPA Debate

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By Alison Henderson

A coal ash spill at a We Energies facility in Caledonia, Wis. is causing debate over the lack of federal regulation on coal ash.

The spill, caused by a landslide, dumped about 2,5000 cubic yards of old coal ash into Lake Michigan on Wednesday, according to an Associated Press report.

Though the ash could harm fish habitats and contaminate the water with heavy metals, Ann Coakley, spokeswoman for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said the spill likely has no significant environmental impact.

"Most will stay where it is and they'll scoop it out," Coakley said. "That's not to say none of it will migrate but it's likely not going to cause a great deal of environment

The EPA is proposing stricter regulation on coal ash in light of the spill, according to a Michigan Radio report.

A hearing in Chicago addressed the debate. Concerned Caledonia citizens and officials attended to advocate stronger federal regulation, according to a Racine Journal Times report.

Supporters of the coal industry suggested that stronger regulation could result in job loss and higher electricity costs, according to the Journal Times report.

75 Evacuated After Roseville Fire

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By Alison Henderson

A fire in a Roseville apartment building forced several dozen people out of their homes Tuesday night.

The fire started at about 7:45 p.m. in a second-story unit on the 2800 block of Pascal Street. Several units surrounding the fire's ignition have been condemned, according to a KSTP report.

The building, built in the 1960s, had working alarms, but did not have a sprinkler system to contain the fire, according to the KSTP report.

"Had this building had sprinklers the fire damage would have been contained to that one unit," Chief Tim O'Neill of the Roseville Fire Department said in the KSTP report.

Tenants will have to find temporary homes. Most tenants adapted quickly, but the Red Cross found lodging for 12 families that were unable to relocate, according to a Star Tribune Report.

About 80 firemen contained the blaze in five hours, according to the Star Tribune report. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Teenager Receives 3 Life Sentences for 3 Murders

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At a final court hearing on Monday, a 17-year-old was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of three people.

Mahdi Hassan Ali was given an automatic life sentence after being charged with first-degree murder last month, according to a Pioneer Press report.

Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill imposed three consecutive life sentences to represent each killing, and to ensure that Ali would have no chance of parole.

"It may seem terrible to take away your liberty and any hope you have for release," Cahill said at the hearing. "But terrible or not, it is a just result."

The murders occurred during an attempted robbery at the Seward Market and Halal Meat on Franklin Avenue last January when Ali shot three men that were at the store, according to a Star Tribune report.

His accomplice Ahmed Ali, 19, plead guilty to three counts of attempted aggravated robbery and was sentenced to 18 years in prison, according to the Star Tribune report.

The victims' families were comforted by the Cahill's decision.

"The least of justice we can get today is to have this person behind bars," relative Nimo Abdi Warfa told the Star Tribune. "We've got that. And we will miss our brothers and we will continue to remember them, and we will try to survive this."

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

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