This news blog is an educational exercise involving students at the University of Minnesota. It is not intended to be a source of news.

President Obama visits post-tornado Oklahoma

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President Obama visited Oklahoma Sunday after a massive tornado swept through the state Monday, news sources reported.

The 17-mile-long tornado killed 24 people and destroyed 1,200 homes, according to CBS News.

While touring Moore, Okla.-- the Oklahoma City suburb hit hardest by the tornado -- President Obama called for Americans to "step up" to help those affected by the storm, urging people to donate to the American Red Cross, CBS News reported.

"This is a strong community with strong character. There's no doubt they're going to bounce back, but they need help, just like any of us would need help if we saw the kind of devastation we're seeing here," President Obama said, CBS News reported.

The president visited sites demolished by the storm, the Moore Fire Department Station, and met with a family who lost their home during his time in Moore, according to Fox News.

Alaska man charged with killing couple, assaulting toddler

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A 24-year-old man was charged Sunday with killing an Alaska couple and sexually assaulting their 2-year-old great-granddaughter, news sources reported.

Jerry Andrew Active was arrested Saturday night after beating Touch Chea, 71, and his wife, Sorn Sreap, 73, to death. Police said Sreap and the 2-year-old girl were raped. Active is charged with first and second-degree murder, sexual assault and burglary, according to the Associated Press.

An Anchorage judge set Active's bail at $1.5 million after prosecutors called the violent and random nature of his crime "beyond words," Anchorage Daily News reported.

There isn't any evidence that the victims knew or were connected to the suspect, Police Sgt. Slawomir Markiewicz said Sunday, the Associated Press reported.

"It's certainly very rare to see this kind of violence - a complete stranger, sexually assaulting and murdering someone," Markiewicz said, the Associated Press reported.

Active is a registered sex-offender in Anchorage, according to the Anchorage Daily News.

Body of missing toddler recovered from Elk River

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Authorities recovered the body of Daisy Jo Holland on Sunday after the toddler had disappeared from an Elk River campground Friday, news sources reported.

Her body was found at 2:30 p.m. Sunday a few hundred feet away from where she disappeared two days earlier, Elk River Police Chief Brad Rolfe said, according to the Star Tribune.

There's no indication of foul play, but the investigation remains open, Rolfe said, the Pioneer Press reported.

Daisy was seen playing near the Elk River before she vanished. Dogs had followed her scent to the river's edge Saturday, police said, according to the Star Tribune.

More than 250 volunteers had been searching the area with authorities over the weekend, the Star Tribune reported.

A second person died within the campground Friday night in an incident unrelated to Daisy's disappearance, Rolfe said, according to the Pioneer Press.

Childhood ADHD linked to adult obesity, study finds

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Boys diagnosed with ADHD in elementary school are more likely to be obese in adulthood than those without the condition, a new study suggests, according to news sources.

In a survey of two groups of men, researchers found that about twice as many men in the group with childhood attention-deficit hyperactive disorder were obese compared to men who never had ADHD, Reuters Health reported.

These findings are consistent with past studies focused on ADHD and obesity, according to Reuters.

"There's definitely been enough research now where it does appear there is some connection between these two disorders," said Sherry Pagoto, professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, in an interview with Reuters Health.

The authors of the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute on Drug Abuse study said the impulsiveness and lack of inhibition that occur with ADHD could play a part in eating behaviors that contribute to obesity risk, according to dailyRx News.

A Long Island police officer accidentally shot and killed a college student while responding to a home invasion robbery Friday night, new sources reported.

The Nassau County officer didn't know he was entering a hostage situation when he entered the woman's home and was forced to make a quick decision when the armed suspect was using a young woman as a shield, authorities said Sunday, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The officer fired eight times after the suspect, Dalton Smith, raised his gun, authorities said. One of the bullets hit and killed Andrea Rebello, a 21-year-old Hofstra University student, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Because the officer didn't know of the hostages in the home, the situation might have been mishandled, experts say, The New York Times reported.

The officer's decision to immediately open fire likely eliminated the opportunity to negotiate with the gunman, said Eugene O'Donnell, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a former New York City police officer, according to The New York Times.

"You arrive, secure the location and you really essentially buy time if you can; you call for negotiators," said O'Donnell in an interview with The New York Times.

Police did not identify the officer, who is now on sick-leave, according to news sources.

Oakdale shooting suspect blames car noises

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An Oakdale man accused of shooting and killing a 9-year-old boy while firing at passing cars told investigators he did it because people had been waking him up by revving their engines, news sources reported.

Nhap Lap Tran, 34, was charged on Feb. 13 with six felonies, which included two counts of second-degree murder, according to the Pioneer Press.

Police found a note on Tran's desk that read, "Random Kill, Fake Plates," as well as the date "12/12/12" scrawled on his bedroom walls after they arrested him in February, the Pioneer Press reported.

Tran previously admitted to the shootings, but hadn't given a motive, according to Kare 11 news.

In the search warrant affidavit, Tran told investigators that "cars had been following him around for a while, and the persons driving the cars had been revving up their engines while parked in front of his house waking him up," and that is why he shot at the cars, the Pioneer Press reported.

Analysis: Speech

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The New York Times story on a Feb. 15 policy speech by Obama can be found here.

The reporter chose to focus her story on President Obama's policy speech in Chicago turning personal, as it is Obama's home state.

The lead was about Obama's personal comments and stories he made throughout his speech. The story then focused in on gun violence and the reporter mentioned the story of the teenage girl who was shot in Chicago a few days after Obama's inaugural parade, which the shooting victim participated in. The victim's parents were sitting in the crowd, the reporter said, and when Obama recognized them the reporter said there was an awkward applause.

The rest of the story was focused mainly on Obama's talks of gun violence, which was obviously the reporter's angle. I think the reporter did a good job of weaving in background information about gun violence, quotes from the president, and the crowd's reaction.

Queen Elizabeth set to sign an equal rights charter

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Queen Elizabeth II is expected to sign a Commonwealth charter on Monday that shows support for gender equality and gay rights, according to news sources.

The charter will outline the values of the 54 member states, according to CTV News.

The charter states: "We are implacably opposed to all forms of discrimination, whether rooted in gender, race, color, creed, political belief or other grounds," the Washington Times reported.

Buckingham Palace is typically apolitical, said royal commentator Bonnie Brownlee, and the Queen is approaching the charter with a "diplomatic fashion," according to CTV News.

6 teens killed in Ohio SUV crash

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Six teenagers were killed and two others were injured after the SUV they were in flipped into a pond in northeast Ohio on Sunday morning, news sources reported.

Investigators say the Honda Passport hit a guardrail, flipped over into a pond, and sank with five passengers trapped inside, and a sixth was thrown from the SUV and found under it when the vehicle was removed from the water, according to the Associated Press.

The two survivors that escaped ran to a nearby home to call 911, USA Today reported.

The teens, ages 14 to 19, took the vehicle without permission, the Associated Press reported.

Police said the SUV was traveling over 70 mph when the driver lost control, according to USA Today.

University community shows support for same-sex marriage bill

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Same-sex marriage has been a hot-button issue for many Minnesotans after the constitutional amendment to prohibit same-sex marriage was defeated in November.

A bi-partisan bill was introduced Wednesday to legalize same-sex marriage in Minnesota by this summer. The bill will be formally introduced to the House and Senate on Thursday.

Students and faculty from the University of Minnesota expressed their full support for the bill.

"People are entitled to love who they want," said organic horticulture and local food junior Rosalyn Murphy.

Astan Koerner, communication studies associate professor, agreed.
"It's a human rights issue," Koerner said. "People should have the right to be with who they want."

Brandon Miller, freshman, said he doesn't see a reason why anyone would be against same-sex marriage.
"I don't see an argument against it that's valid," he said.

An uphill challenge
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Although Minnesota voted "no" to the proposed amendment to ban same-sex marriage, some expressed concern with the amount of time it may take for the bill to pass.

Koerner said he thinks the House and Senate will approve the bill, but there will be people opposed to it who will try to stop it.

"I assume it's going to pass, but there's a good chance someone is going to challenge it," he said.

Miller also predicated the legalization of same-sex marriage could be a slow process, especially because Minnesota voted about half and half for the amendment last fall.

"I would hope that it would move quickly, but the amendment vote was a little too narrow," Miller said.

Although many in the University of Minnesota community said they supported the bill, groups, such as National Organization for Marriage and Minnesota for Marriage are fighting the legislation.

NOM said it will pledge $500,000 to defeat any Republican who supports same-sex marriage in its blog on Feb. 25.