March 2012 Archives

Analysis: Numbers in reporting rise in company's revenue

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Reuters' story about China Southern Airlines uses numbers to report on the airline's expected rise in operating revenue. To tell the airline's plan in 2012, the reporter incorporated the percent increase expected in the company's spending and income. To make the rise easy to understand, the reporter includes the percent change along with the actual money - "capital spending will rise by nearly half to 19 billion yuan ($3 billion) from about 13 billion yuan last year" - which is more effective than merely stating the operating income is forecast to "rise to about 100 billion yuan this year from 92.7 billion yuan in 2011." However, this is the only rise reported in the story without including the percent increase. Besides the rise in operating revenue, numbers are also used to tell the airline's new plan to purchase more airplanes. In one of the paragraph, 4 numbers are used side-to-side. They are effective in telling the plan but I also found it overwhelming to read all these figures in the same, lengthy sentence. All the sources are attributed next to the numbers but a results statement is also included in the article for reference.

A Carver County judge released Wednesday a Minneapolis man who was accused of murdering in a Chaska bar in June, surprising the victim's family and attorney, the Star Tribune said.

The second-degree murder charge on Jesse J. Rogers, 32, was cleared because of a lack of sufficient evidence, CBS Local News said. Rogers was accused of involved in 35-year-old Justin David Foster's death on June 3, 2011, outside a Chaska bar, according to CBS Local News.

According to CBS Local News, Foster was stabbed during a fight involving Rogers and his brothers outside Kelley's Bar in Chaska, authorities said. Evidence in the trial showed Rogers stabbed Foster five times, but Rogers argued he was acting in self-defense, according to CBS Local News.

"[Foster's] family was obviously devastated and hurt and didn't understand why the jury didn't decide this case," Carver County Attorney Mark Metz told the Star Tribune. The family did not want to be contacted for comment, Metz told the Star Tribune.

A Virginia man's 15 years living as a recluse ended with a full face transplant, which gave him a new face, nose, teeth and jaw, the San Francisco Chronicle said.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Richard Lee Norris, 37, received "the most extensive face transplant ever performed" in the University of Maryland Medical Center last week and is now recovering from the surgery, officials from the medical center announced Tuesday.

Norris's face was severely injured 15 years ago in a gun accident, causing him to lose hips lips and nose, and limited movement of his mouth, BBC News said. He wore a mask since then and only dared to shop at night, the San Francisco Chronicle said. The surgery, funded by the US Navy, will bring a new life to Norris, his lead surgeon told BBC News.

Dr. Eduardo Rodriguez, the lead surgeon, showed the San Francisco Chronicle during the announcement a 1993 photo of Norris, a pre-transplant photo and a photo after the surgery to show the results of the surgery.

"He could not smell for the past 15 years, and that was the most dramatic thing - immediately, on day three, he could finally smell," Rodriguez told the San Francisco Chronicle.

A wildfire in Denver killed an elderly couple and demolished 23 homes, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Jacki Kelley, spokeswoman for the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, said the couple was identified as Linda Lucas, 76, and Samuel Lucas, 77, according to the Chicago Tribune. Jefferson County coroner John Graham told USA Today the cause of the couple's death could not be determined until the report released in several weeks.

The blaze started Monday and had now burnt 4,500 acres of lands, USA Today said, "it was still out of control Tuesday night." According to the Chicago Tribune, the blaze is close "the state's most populous city," just 20 miles west of Denver.

About 450 firefighters around the country were making their way to Denver to help controlling the blaze, Kelley told USA Today. Officials with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office told the Chicago Tribune the weather on Tuesday was advantageous for firefighters but it "turned against them and forced firefighters to retreat to protecting structures."

The cause of the fire is yet to be determined. But the Colorado Bureau of Investigation told the Chicago Tribune signs showed that the fire might be started by embers from a controlled-burn operation to remove vegetation in the area.

Small-business companies in the Twin Cities are not competitive enough in the national market; many firms still "lack awareness about global export opportunities and resources," according to the Pioneer Press.

Local business leaders, economic development officials and the Brookings Institution studied business across the Twin Cities metro area and proposed to double the value of the area's foreign business over the next five years, the Pioneer Press said. They hoped it could help the state economy and job market to grow.

The Twin Cities "ranks 14th in exports among the 100 largest metro areas in the nation," according to the Pioneer Press, but the study showed that export growth rate in the state is still slow, ranking 67th in the nation.

The Brookings Metropolitan Export Initiative planned to start a new "export team" to help identifying "export ready" companies and create networks for them, bringing them to the national market, according to the Pioneer Press.

It is hard for small-business companies in the Twin Cities to grow nationally. At the same time, it is also tough for women to start a business in the metro, the Star Tribune said.

Just like the export business in the area, growth rate of women-owned businesses has slowed down though the number grows nationwide, according to a study sponsored by American Express, the Star Tribune said.

Janet Zahn, the founder of the Camden Music School in Minneapolis, told the Star Tribune it was "a desire for something different" when she decided to start the company.

Robberies of cabs draw attention to cabdrivers' safety

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Police released Friday surveillance photos of the suspects who robbed a cabdriver in north Minneapolis, the Star Tribune said.

The suspects were armed. Police only managed to get photos of one of the suspects, "described as a dark-complected black man, clean-shaven...wearing a black baseball cap," according to the Star Tribune. Police only have a few descriptions of the other suspect, Sgt. Stephen McCarthy told the Star Tribune.

The two men robbed the Yellow Cab driver Tekle Misgina, 41, of St. Paul inside his cab on March 18. "They drove the taxi about a half-block before fleeing on foot with cash and the driver's wallet and cellphone," the Star Tribune said.

Another Yellow Cab driver William Harper was shot to death on March 14, four days before the robbery on March 18, in Minneapolis, the Star Tribune said. According to Fox 9 News, cabdrivers have been calling for more protection after the fatal shoot.

Gary Schiff, a Minneapolis City Council member told Fox 9 News in-cab cameras, bullet-proof glass or a GPS tracking system were not enough to stop these crimes. He said it should be required by law for cabs to install either bullet-proof shields or cameras.

"When you look at the cost of a human life, I think we need to protect the driver," Schiff told Fox 9 News.

Japan and Canada agreed Sunday to start drafting a joint-country free trade agreement - a pact, if established, going to be Japan's first with a Group of Eight nation, the Associated Press said.

During the three-day visit in Japan, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper met with the Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda to discuss about the pact and more cooperation in the private sectors especially over natural resources, according to the Wall Street Journal. Noda also told the Associated Press during a joint news conference that the two countries would strive to strengthen defense and security in the Asia-Pacific region.

According to the Associated Press, Japan currently exports cars, machinery and other industry products to Canada while relies imports like natural resources and agricultural products from Canada.

The new trade agreement would be beneficial to Japan to stabilize its supply of energy resources, which was shaken by last year's massive earthquake and tsunami, destroying the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, the Associated Press said.

The two prime ministers were going to Seoul for a Nuclear Security Summit, according to the Associated Press. Harper would also visit Northeast Japan on Monday, "which was devasted bu the magnitude-9.0 earthquake and the ensuing tsunami," the Wall Street Journal said.

Reporter of the Associated Press used a standard lead in the obituary about Freddie Solomon, "the former Miami Dolphins and 49ers wide receiver who became known as 'Fabulous Freddie.'" The story begins with the name of the subject, followed by an identifier of his most distinct achievement and his age. This lead is strong enough to summarize Solomon's achievements - a famous football player. Comments from the 49ers and Hall of Fame are weaved into the obit to create a profile of Solomon, highlighting his football career. Not only does this story recall Solomon's football career, it also brings alive his sportsmanship and contributions outside the football field. With quotes from his former coaches and friends, the obit is turned away from being a translation of Solomon's resume.

New discoveries were made about Mercury by MIT scientists and their Messenger mission, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology published Wednesday their new findings on "the smallest planet in the solar system" on the journal Science, the Los Angeles Times said. The researchers said Mercury may have been geologically active than previously imagined, the Los Angeles Times said.

According to BBC News, Messenger, the supercraft that brought home this data, was launched in 2004 and traveled near its target in March last year. Messenger sent pictures of Mercury's poles back to earth and showed scientists radar-bright features on Mercury, BBC News said.

MIT geophysicist Maria Zuber told the Los Angeles Times that the new discoveries shed light on "potentially habitable planets beyond our solar system."

Skydivers were saved from being sucked into a thunderstorm, but the hot-air balloon pilot went missing in Georgia, according to the Associated Press (reported in the Seattle Times).

Edward Ristaino, a 63-year-old medical profession, took a hot-air balloon up with five skydivers Friday night in Fitzgerald, Ga., when a "fog-like haze" quickly developed into a thunderstorm, the Associated Press said. Ristaino of North Carolina "asked the skydivers to bail out" when he noticed the wind was picking up the balloon, Ben Hill County Sheriff Bobby McLemore told CNN (reported in the Boston Channel). Ristaino and his balloon then fell, crashed and went missing, CNN said.

Ristaino's body was found Monday, three days after the crash, about eight miles from where the skydivers landed, the Associated Press said. McLemore told CNN that at least seven helicopters and planes, and over 100 people helped recovering the body of the missing balloonist.

Ristaino was last heard from the radio after falling 60 to 90 mph, McLemore told CNN. He was calm the whole time, McLemore said.

Surviving skydivers told the Associated Press Friday was not one of the days skydiving was not suitable. "We had blue skies all day. There was no issue," Dan Eaton, one of the skydivers, said.

The state Capitol approved Thursday a $3.8 million bill to build a research center to fight against invasive aquatic species at the University of Minnesota, according to the Pioneer Press.

Sen. John Carlson, accompanied by University President Eric Kaler and Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R - Alexandria, chairman of the Senate Environment & Natural Resources Committee, announced the Legislature at a Capitol news conference, the Pioneer Press said.

University of Minnesota Prof. Peter Sorensen said at the news conference that "it's sort of now or never" to attack these aquatic invasive species, such as the Asian and zebra mussels, which are occupying some of Minnesota's most popular recreation and boating lakes, and Minnesota portions of the Mississippi River, according to the Star Tribune.

The new center would be built within the university's College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resources Sciences in the St. Paul Campus, the Pioneer Press said. The center would continue to control common carp, work on developing more effective ways in identifying and controlling invasive aquatic creatures, and releasing the information to the public, according to the Pioneer Press.

Carlson announced the fund would be drawn from the state's clean-water fund, the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources, and possibly from higher fines and fees for boaters, according to the Pioneer Press.

Former Minneapolis park police chief William Allan Jacobs was pleaded guilty to three counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct and three counts of child porn possession Thursday in Hennepin County District Court, the Pioneer Press said.

The teenage victim watched Jacobs, 68, as he was charged on the court, the Star Tribune said. The teenager told the police in January 2010 that Jacobs molested him on camping trips, according to the Star Tribune. Prosecutors believed dozens of boys were sexually abused over three decades as more victims came forward, the Star Tribune said.

Jacobs will be sentenced to jails on April 9 for 12 to 18 years, followed by 10 years of supervised release, the Pioneer Press said. In addition, he would appear in court for charges related to porn possession in April, according to the Pioneer Press.

Formerly a park police chief, Jacobs had also as a lawyer and a camp counselor at Camp Warren in northern Minnesota, the according to the Star Tribune.

Police find relatives of dead California twin sisters

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Family of California twin sisters who were found dead in their home last month were finally located by police, the Associated Press said (reported in the Chicago Sun-Times).

According to the Los Angeles Times, Patricia and Joan Miller, 73, were found dead in their home in Lake Tahoe last month during a welfare check, El Dorado County Sheriff's Det. Matt Harwood said.

Police made an unusual step to release the names of the dead before informing their family, but with the twin sisters' isolated life in their late years, it would be impossible to find their relatives without help from the public, detective Harwood told the Associated Press.

Police received emails and phone calls with information about the Miller sisters after releasing their names, the Associated Press said. Police finally located a first cousin and two second cousins Wednesday, according to the Associated Press.

According to the Associated Press, police were still investigating the time and reason for the sisters' death. One was found in their bedroom while the other was found in the hallway outside the bedroom on Feb. 26.

The Miller sisters lived a secluded lives and "often shunned their neighbors," the Associated Press said. According to the Los Angeles Times, the sisters appeared on the weekly television show "The Hoffman Hayride" in the 1950s and "entertained troops at several military bases," the detectives said.

Turkish Airlines flew Tuesday the first commercial planes into Somalia's capital in over two decades, the Associated Press said (reported in the Washington Post).

According to AFP, Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bosdag was one of those who stepped out of the plane, which was welcomed by Somali President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed at Mogadishu airport.

Somalia has lost her functioning central government for more than 20 years, BBC News said. Bosdag announced that "the Turkish government has facilitated for the Somalis to the world again," according to the Associated Press.

The new twice-weekly flights landing on Somalia's capital operated by an international carrier were supported by Somalia residents, BBC News said. BBC News' reporter said a group of women were singing and dancing to the arrival of the plane. Mogadishu residents told AFP the new flights would make Somalis scattered around the world to come back to visit.

"We will connect the Somali people to the rest of the world," Faruk Sazar, an official from Turkish Airlines, told BBC News.

A new study revealed children with sleep problems were more likely to develop behavioral problems, BBC News said.

The US journal Pediatrics published the study conducted on 11,000 children living in the UK, BBC News said. Researchers said toddlers who snore were more likely to develop behavioral problems at their school age, according to the CBS News.

The researchers followed the children from their six months to 7 years old and collected data using sleep surveys and behavioral assessment filled out by parents, according to CBS News.

Dr. Karen Bonuck, author researcher from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University in new York, said the children developed behavioral problems because of the reduce in supply of oxygen to the brain, affecting the functions of sleep as a "restorative process," according to BBC News.

Marianne Davey, a member of the British Snoring and Sleep Apnoea Society, told BBC News that parents often did not associate their children's poor behavior with sleep problems. Bonuck said parents should start to be mindful about how their children sleep and should consult a sleep specialist if they find their children snoring, CBS News said.

Using a lead that summarizes the when, who, where and what while highlighting one key point in British Prime Minister David Cameron said in his speech ties creates a coherent news story in the New York Times published February 16, 2012. Most of the story is structured in the point-form format, in which the reporter extracts one important point and supports with quotes from Cameron. This structure can be seen in the beginning of the story when the reporter wrote about Mr. Cameron's attempt to reach out directly to the Scottish people. The reporter backed this point with a quote from Mr. Cameron - "I am one hundred percent clear that I will fight with everything I have to keep our United Kingdom together." The story expanded from the speech by reporting on the Scottish National Party's triumph in elections last year and the purpose of the meeting between Mr. Cameron and Mr. Salmond.

Tornado warnings and fundraising help to save lives

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Many may have saved in southern Indiana from tornadoes by the special radios installed in their homes that "emit a squawking alarm" whenever the National Weather Service issues tornado warnings, the Chicago Tribune said.

At least 90 tornadoes stroke Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and Alabama Friday, killing 37 people. Indiana State Police Sgt. Tony Slocum told the Chicago Tribune "we could've had a lot more" if people did not take those warnings issued by the National Weather Service seriously. Schools, businesses and offices carried out evacuation plans when warnings were issued, the Chicago Tribune said.

The warnings were not perfect. Tornadoes are less predictable than hurricanes, "there's no way you can prepare for something like this," Clarke County, Ind., Sheriff Danny Rodden told the Associated Press, according to the Chicago Tribune.

With the tornadoes demolishing people's homes, Cathy Mangels of Charlestown, Ind., did a roadblock to collect money from passing vehicles, the Los Angeles Times said.

Mangels, 59, told the Los Angeles Times she had always been fundraising with his father. She raised half a million dollars for a park for special-needs children, she said.

Mangels received a permit from the mayor Monday, according to the Los Angeles Times. "She had to promise to get orange vests and not get killed," the Los Angeles Times said. She told the Los Angeles Times she "just want[ed] to get out there and do what she can." She would be giving the money to the American Red Cross, she said.

New bridge at St. Croix River approved

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People in Stillwater, Minn., are expecting President Obama to sign a bill passed Thursday by the U.S. House of Representatives for constructing a new bridge over the St. Croix River, the Stillwater Gazette said.

An overjoy crowd gathered at the Dock Café in Stillwater, Minn., to celebrate the approval, which was anticipated for decades, the Pioneer Press said. The bridge project was put on hold for years because of the huge cost and environmental concerns, according to the Pioneer Press. But the historic Lift Bridge, which connects Minnesota and Wisconsin in downtown Stillwater, could finally retire after "30 years of debate and delay", U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar told the Stillwater Gazette. "Residents and businesses... have waited long enough for a safe, new bridge," she said.

Even with Obama's signature, the bridge project still faces obstacles. A Minnesota Department of Transportation spokesman told the Pioneer Press they would start the construction "quickly after the president signs the bill." However, until the state figures out who to pay for the new bridge, MnDOT would not be able to gain approval from Oak Park Heights, "where the Minnesota approach to the bridge would be built," said the Pioneer Press.

Opponents of the bill said building the new bridge would violate the federal Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. Bob Irvin, president of American Rivers, told the Stillwater Gazette even though the people of Minnesota and Wisconsin deserved a safer, newer bridge, "they also deserve to have the unique natural heritage of the wild and scenic St. Croix River preserved to generations to come," he said.

Police found possible human bones in a house in Crystal, Minn., and arrested a couple living there Thursday when they searched for evidence of a death infant happened years ago, the Star Tribune said.

The bones were discovered in the backyard of Duane and Tiffany Clark's house at 57th and Quail Avenue North in Crystal, Minn., and were sent to the Hennepin County Medical Examiner for examination, according to the Pioneer Press.

Duane and Tiffany Clark were arrested on suspicion of killing an unborn child Tuesday evening, according to the Star Tribune. Charges need to be filed by 4 p.m. Friday; otherwise the couple will be released from jail, the Star Tribune said.

The police started investigating the possible baby death three to four years ago Tuesday morning while conducting a domestic assault investigation at the home, the Star Tribune said. The police did not tell if the assault involved the couple, according to the Star Tribune.

Jerry Rowley, a neighbor, told the Pioneer Press he had seen the Clark's at the home with two children, but a possible third child was never at sight. "They're real new in the neighbor," he told the Pioneer Press.

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