December 2011 Archives

CAR Analysis

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This WINK News story looks at educator voting, and challenges the notion that teachers represented a large voting block in Florida. The report used voting data to determine the voter turnout for educational personnel.

To do this reporting, the reporter had to be able to perform an effective database search to find the voting lists and voter information. The reporter might have also had to use statistical analysis to match information and determine demographic distinctions.

Finally the report needed to determine how many staff members lived in the district and were able to vote. The reporter would have had to use personal records to identify where people lived.

Israel Votes to Secure Boarders From African Migration

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By Alison Henderson

The Israel Cabinet voted Friday to spend $160 million on a plan that would restrict African migrants from crossing boarders illegally.

The money will go to securing southern boarders, such as the Sinai desert, where the greatest influx of immigrants come from, according to a Washington Post report.

The government estimates that approximately 50,000 Africans have entered illegally since 2006, after police attacks killed 20 people, according to a New York Times report.

The influx has caused conflict within the Israeli nation. Some fear that non-Jewish arrivals "will compromise the state's Jewish character," according to the Washington Post report. But others believe that turning away people who face persecution and conflict would contradict the nation that was built from the exile of Nazi genocide.

Though Israeli officials believe the immigrants are only looking for a better economic state, and will become a burden, others say these are refugees.

"Across the world, 88 percent of Eritrean migrants who seek asylum are recognized as refugees," said Reut Michaeli, an attorney for The Hotline for Migrant Workers in the Washington Post report. "I find it very difficult to believe that the ones who come to Israel are any different."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to raise the issue when he visits several African countries early next year, according to the New York Times report.

Changes Made in Minneapolis Cab Regulations

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By Alison Henderson

Minneapolis cab drivers will no longer be able to use their cell phones or the radio due to a new city council ordinance.

The ordinance, approved on Friday by the regulatory committee, also requires drivers to accept credit cards.

Rainbow Taxi owner Zack Williams agreed with the ordinance and said his drivers are already banned from talking on the phone while a customer is in the car, according to a Kare 11 report.

"Drivers will now sit and talk to their wives, girlfriends and friends, make dates, do whatever they are doing on the phone and completely ignore the passenger and we're in the customer service industry," Williams said in the KARE 11 report.

Cab drivers are accepting the regulations and are pleased with changes that allow them to drive in jeans, and leave their cabs at taxi stands, according to a Star Tribune report.

Anti-bullying Video Gets Celebrity Attention

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By Alison Henderson

A 12-year-old Blaine, Minn. resident received a call from Mötley Crüe member Nikki Sixx, after using his song in an anti-bullying video on Youtube.

Chloe McCarty, using the song "Skin," posted the video to "blow off steam," according to a Star Tribune report. She had been a victim of bullying because of her trichotillomania, a condition that causes her to pull out her hair.

McCarty flipped through a series of note cards to tell her story, leaving viewers with an inspiring message.

"Ugly? Never. You are beautiful," the cards said.

After seeing the video Nixx called McCarty to thank her. He also replied to the video with a tweet saying: "Chloe, you made the most beautiful video for 'Skin' ... Thank you ... You are a role model. ... Your strength will give others hope. ... THANK YOU," according to a Sacramento Bee report.

The video also sparked reactions from thousands of viewers, and apologies from several of McCarty's classmates, according to the Star Tribune report.

Climate Conference Ends With Legally Binding Agreement

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By Alison Henderson
The 17th U.N. Conference of the Parties came to a close on Sunday in Durban, South-Africa with an agreement to make all climate pledges legally binding.

The four-week international discussion also established the management of a climate aid fund for poor nations, but failed to determine where the funds would come from, and did not establish any targets to cut emissions, according to a CBS report.

The package extends the 1997 Kyoto Protocol agreement for another five years and legally binds developing nations like China and India, that were not included before.

"This is a very significant package. None of us likes everything in it. Believe me, there is plenty the United States is not thrilled about," said U.S. climate envoy Todd Stern in the CBS report.

Disagreements from India over the legal deal caused the negotiations to end 36 hours later than scheduled.

"India believes in maintaining the current stark division where only countries labeled 'developed' have to cut their greenhouse gas emissions," a BBC article reported.

Other developing and poor nations argued that industrialized nations are not fulfilling commitments, like financial aid, that were promised in previous agreements.

Talks about the legal deal will begin next year and are expected to be implemented by 2020, according to the BBC report.

Mother Kills Two Children During Standoff

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By Alison Henderson
Two children are dead after a seven hour standoff Monday at the Laredo, Texas welfare office, according to a Washington Post report.

12-year-old Ramie Grimmer, who was shot and killed by her mother posted a "prophetic" message on Facebook during the stand-off that read "May die 2day," according to an LA Times report. 10-year-old Timothy Grimmer was also shot during the standoff, and died Thursday at San Antonio hospital from gunshot wounds.

The mother came to the office armed demanding food stamps after being rejected for an incomplete application.

"We closed the case on Aug. 8 because we hadn't received proof of her income," agency spokeswoman Stephanie Goodman said in an email to the Washington Post. "If we had that, it's quite likely she would have been eligible for benefits."

Grimmer threatened employees and held the office supervisor hostage, according to the Washington Post report. Police later found Grimmer dead and her children in critical condition.

Laredo police police information officer, Joe Bezza said the case is still under investigation, according to the Washington Post report.

Ford Plant to Close in St. Paul

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By Alison Henderson

The St. Paul Ford plant, which opened in 1925, is scheduled to close by the end of the year.

Despite government efforts to keep the plant open, the closure is part of a larger national trend as Ford production rates continue to shirnk. In addition, auto-making contributes less than 1 percent to the state economy, according to a Star Tribune report.

Most of the 2,000 long-time workers have transferred to places such as Louisville or Kansas City, leaving less than 130 full-time union workers.

Ford officials said the plant will likely go up for sale in 2012. The land, located along the Mississippi River, is considered "prime real-estate" by city officials. However an environmental impact analysis must be completed before developments are made, according to a KARE 11 report.

Minneapolis to Reopen Schools

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By Alison Henderson

The Minneapolis public school district will open three schools to support a rise in enrollment, according to a Star Tribune report.

The district was the largest in Minnesota, but decreased in size after enrollment moved to suburban and charter schools. However, the district expects 2,000 new students by 2015, according to a KSTP report.

The plan is expected to cost up to $45 million. School board members approved the allocation of $18 million Tuesday, to spread over eight schools, according to the Star Tribune report.

Money to cover the cost of construction and architect fees will come from the district's budget and proceeds from a bond sale, according to the Star Tribune report.

The expansion aims to create more space for elementary school students currently studying in overcrowded classrooms.

Evanston Ill. Decriminalizes Possession of Marijuana

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By Alison Henderson

The 2012 budget for Evanston, Ill. decriminalized the possession of marijuana to raise revenue in the city.

Any possession under 10 grams results in a $50 to $500 dollars ticket rather than facing a misdemeanor and up to six months in jail, according to a My Fox Chicago report. The new ordinance will enable police to focus on more serious crimes.

The ordinance, which was voted on Monday night at a city council meeting, passed with a 6-3 vote, according to an Evanston Patch report.

"Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey said the city's 23,000 annual arrests for small amounts of marijuana cost the county $80 million a year, even though 90 percent of the cases are thrown out," Reuters reported.

"A one-time violation by someone with that level of possession could be a teenager or someone in college," said Alderman Donald Wilson in a Hawaii News Daily report. "I wouldn't want to see people suffer the long-term consequences of something that might just be short-term misconduct."

Horse Slaughter Ban Lifted in US

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By Alison Henderson

Congress lifted a ban Nov. 18 that will allow the slaughter of horses to resume in the U.S.

The ban, which began in 2006 did not stop horses from being slaughtered, according to a Patch report. During the ban, horses were shipped across national boarders for slaughter.

"As a result, nearly the same number of U.S. horses was transported to Canada and Mexico for slaughter in 2010 - nearly 138,000 - as was slaughtered before domestic slaughter ceased," U.S. Rep Chris Murphy, D-5 said in an email to Patch.

Activists, including the animal rights group PETA, say that the new legislation will keep horses from the suffering they experienced when they were being transferred.

"This transport of live horses -- often in vehicles with low ceilings in which horses must hunch over, slipping and sliding on their own waste ... is an indictment of the horse-breeding and -ranching business. To reduce suffering, there should be a ban on the export of live horses, even if that means opening slaughterhouses in the U.S. again," PETA said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times.

Though currently no slaughterhouses in the U.S. are used to slaughter horses, several are expected to be up and running within the next few months, according to a Washington Post report.

World War II Bomb Diffused in Germany

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By Alison Henderson

A British World War II bomb that caused the evacuation of residents in Koblenz, Germany was successfully defused Sunday, according to an Associated Press report.

The bomb, weighing 1.8 tons, along with a 275-pound U.S. bomb were found last month after a significant fall in the water level of the Rhine river, according to the Associated Press report.

Residents, cleared from homes, hospitals and prisons, were bussed to shelters outside of the city for safety.

Experts said the operation was risky because of the bomb's position.

"We have a British detonator which was surrounded by water for a long time and the explosives within the detonator react with water over time, which causes a high risk when the detonator is being removed," Bomb disposal expert Marco Ofenstein said, according to a Reuters report.

Koblenz was heavily bombed during World War II. City officials said 28 smaller war bombs had been found there since 1999, according to a Washington Post report.

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

November 2011 is the previous archive.

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