March 2011 Archives

Brazil: Ford Sues Nissan Over Ad

The Brazilian branch of the Ford Motor Co. has filed a lawsuit against Nissan Motor Co. due to its "improper brand uses" and "unfair competition" in a recent television commercial.

The commercial features two Ford employees rapping about how much the company overcharges its customers for their Focus model and how they pocket the money. It includes the rapping employees showing off their jewelry, drinking champagne and dancing with women in bikinis.

"All the luxury that I got, I got it with your money. Don't weep because you're paying extra money -- your money was well spent, look what I do with it," is one of the rap's lyrics, according to Forbes.

Throughout the one minute and 38 second commercial, a silver Ford Focus can be seen in the background.

Ford filed a lawsuit in the city of of Sao Jose dos Pinhais, in southern Parana state, where Nissan has a manufacturing factory. The commercial was withdrawn from national TV on March 3 after Ford obtained an injunction.

Nissan released a series of brands aimed at General Motors and Fiat last year that also had to be withdrawn, according to Reuters.

The commercial was meant to advertise Nissan's Tiida, the Brazilian equivalent to the Versa, and highlight its price comparision. The Tiida sells for $1,800 less than the Focus in Brazil reported autoevolution.

Ford is currently fourth in Brazil's auto market while Nissan is 12th.

Analysis: Obituary

The obituary that I chose was from the New York Times and was about Dorothy Young, Houdini's stage assistant.

The obituary itself did not refer to that many sources, but it did have plenty of information that may have been found through research or just not directly attributed to the aforementioned sources. The sources included Young's granddaughter, a PBS documentary and the curator of the Harry Houdini Museum.

It does not follow the standard obituary lead, but an alternative. Her death is not mentioned until the fourth paragraph. Her age at death is not its own separate sentence but is included in a sentence that mentions her place of death and uses her granddaughter as a source. The first three paragraphs describe a typical routine in Houdini's acts and Young's role in them.

Most of the obituary contains anecdotes and specific moments in Young's life rather than just providing her accomplishments. While those are included in the obituary, it does not act as a list or résumé. It also has direct quotes from Young and her experiences with Houdini or her later life that make it seem less like a résumé, but more of a profile.

Fargo Beats Mpls/St. Paul in Weather Competition

Fargo, N.D. has made it to the Final Four on Friday after getting past the Twin Cities of a competition of the nation's worst weather cities.

The Weather Channel is holding a 64-city tournament, similar to the NCAA Basketball Tournament, to see which U.S. city has the worst weather. The winner is decided based on votes online.

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak had tweeted for residents to vote for his city Thursday before the compettition closed, according to KSTP.

Fargo won easily though over Minneapolis-St. Paul as it gained 91.4 percent of the votes.

The tournament was broken into four regions: Midwest, Northeast, South and West. Fargo and Minneapolis-St. Paul were both in the Midwest Region, in which Fargo ultimately won the title.

Duluth and International Falls were the only other two cities from Minnesota to participate in the tournament, according to The Weather Channel's bracket. Fargo beat International Falls to advance to its match-up against Minneapolis, who prevailed over Chicago.

Fargo will take on Juneau, Alaska, the champion of the West Region, in the next round, according to The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead.

The winner will compete in the national championship next week against Bradford, Pa., or New Orleans, the champions of the East Region and South Region, respectively.

Dayton, Klobuchar, Bachmann Support St. Croix Bridge

Three prominent Minnesota politicians have expressed a desire this week to build a new bridge over the St. Croix River, connecting Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Democrats Gov. Mark Dayton and Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Republican Rep. Michelle Bachmann each visited the site of the current bridge this week. Klobuchar plans to introduce legislation that would lead to a new bridge, while Bachmann has already proposed legislation.

Bachmann joined Dayton, along with other state and local leaders from both Minnesota and Wisconsin, on a visit to the current bridge site on Friday.

"Today's discussion was an important milestone to bring the involved parties together as we proceed to build a needed bridge over the St. Croix for the residents of Minnesota and Wisconsin," said Bachmann told the St. Croix Valley Press. We all agree something must be done because the current lift bridge can't sustain 18,000 drivers a day much longer."

Dayton also expressed interest in a new bridge.

Klobuchar said her bill will not violate the the federal Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, which the St. Croix River falls under. The act protects more than 11,000 miles of 166 rivers in 38 states.

Congress has not allowed the building of a new bridge over any of the rivers protected.

"The law, however, provides for an exemption," Klobuchar said in an interview with Minnesota Public Radio. "While the act is incredibly important, it is also very important that Stillwater get a new bridge."

Meanwhile, former Sen. Walter Mondale, who co-authored the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act in 1968, said he does not agree with either plan for building the bridge.

"I think that people ought to be soberly thinking about whether they want to assault the uniqueness and majesty of that river," Mondale said to the Star Tribune. "This is establishing a dangerous precedent of the whole river system."

Maine Gov. Asks for Mural Removal in State Building

The new Republican governor of Maine has announced the removal a mural depicting images from the state's labor history, including workers' strikes, from the Department of Labor.

Gov. Paul LePage has cited that the images are not consistent with the department's pro-business goals.

The 36-foot mural is displayed in the building's lobby and features 11 panels that include images of a 1937 shoe mill strike, the iconic "Rosie the Riveter" and a 1986 paper mill strike, according to the Associated Press. The mural was erected in 1998.

LePage asked for the mural's removal following several complaints from business officials about the message that it implies of pro-labor and not focused on job creators.

"We want to make sure we're not sending a message swaying one side or the other and this is a mural that sides with the labor movement," LePage spokeswoman Adrienne Bennett told FoxNews.com. "We're making sure we represent all sides."

Opposition of LePage's decision has emerged as groups view it as an anti-union or -working class action.

"People elected Governor LePage, hoping he would create jobs and not get involved in the interior decoration of state offices" Maine People's Alliance spokesman Mike Tipping said, according to the New York Times.

Others have argued LePage is looking to erase Maine's labor history by removing the mural.

"The governor understands the value of history," Bennet said. "That's why we're exploring placing the mural in the State of Maine Museum."

LePage is also looking to rename several conference rooms in the department, including one named after Cesar Chavez.

Hundreds of Thousands Protest in London Against Cuts

At least 250,000 demonstrators marched in central London Saturday in opposition to the nation's serious cuts to its budgets.

Britain's austerity plan would mean cuts of about 80 billion pounds, or $130 billion, in public spending to cope with a large deficit. The plan also included the loss of nearly 500,000 public sector jobs.

The total number of protesters has varied according to sources.

The Associated Press, along with others, reported that 250,000 were present while The Guardian reported as many as 400,000.

The Guardian also reported that this is the biggest protest in the country since the beginning of the Iraq war.

Demontrators marched up Oxford Street, one of the city's most busiest, in a peaceful manner. BBC reported there were very limited acts of violence and damages given the crowd's size.

Hundreds of Thousands Rally in Portugal Against Unemployment

Over 300,000 demonstrators have protested Saturday across cities in Portugal to express frustration about low employment prospects as well as the effects of the nation's struggling economy.

Lisbon itself had 200,00 protesters while 10 other cities also held a rally at the same time.

Most of the protesters were recent college graduates in their 20s who are faced with no job prospects.

Portugal's unemployment rate is at a record 11.2 percent, according to The Canadian Press; 68,500 college graduates sat idle in the third quarter of last year.

Social media proved to be a key tool in organizing the protests as an Internet group that refers to itself as "Precarious Generation" orchestrated the nationwide event.

"We protest so that those responsible for our uncertain situation -- politicians, employers, and ourselves -- act together towards a rapid change in this reality that has become unsustainable," reads the organizers' manifesto, according to Hindustan Times.

The Portuguese government has recently announced a series of cuts to its budget in order to lower its deficit. Many speculate that this is to avoid taking an international bailout such as Ireland and Greece.

Monsters and Critics reports that Portugal is the poorest Western European country.

Supposed location of Atlantis found in Spain

An international research team believes that it has located the lost city of Atlantis in southern Spain.

Led by Richard Freund, a professor at the University of Hartford, the team initially used a satellite photograph in 2009 to discover a submerged city north of Cadiz, Spain.

"I think we found the best candidate for what was the beginnings of civilization," Freund told The Daily Telegraph.

Following two years of experiments, which included radar and digital mapping, Freund said he and his team believe that the ancient city was buried by a tsunami in marshlands located in the Dona Ana Park.

"This is the power of tsunamis," he said to Reuters. "It is so hard to understand that it can wipe out 60 miles inland, and that's pretty much what we're talking about."

While Atlantis was believed to be an island, he said a series of "memorial cities" surrounding the area constructed to honor the lost city support his group's findings.

There is still not definitive proof of whether or not the team's discovery is true. Freund and his colleagues plan to continue excavating the area to uncover more, according to Fox News.

Burnsville Longest-Serving Council Member Dies

Charlie Crichton, Burnsville's longest-serving city council member, died Sunday at St. Francis Regional Medical Center in Shakopee.

Crichton, 83, had served has a council member since 1992 and had been elected to his fifth term in 2010.

He had been hospitalized with the flu since February, according to the Pioneer Press.

Known for speaking his mind and desire to keep taxes low, Crichton had also served a council member and mayor in Arden Hills in the 1970s and 1980s.

"What would Charlie be known for? I think his never-ending advocacy on behalf of the taxpayer," Daron Van Helden, president of the Burnsville Chamber of Commerce, told the Star Tribune.

KSTP-TV reports the City Council will decide next if they will appoint someone to his vacant seat or hold a special election.

Three Minneapolis Teens Claim False Kidnapping

Minneapolis police may charge three teenage girls for falsely reporting that they had been kidnapped.

Two sisters and their cousin made up a story that they had been abducted in a Minneapolis neighborhood, possibly drugged, molested, and then left at a Cub Foods grocery store. Their story was ultimately dismissed as fake 26 hours after the investigation had taken place.

The police may press charges due to the expense of the investigation.

Along with the 26 hours of investigation, the ordeal also included ambulance rides to Hennepin County Medical Center, sexual assault exams, crime scene scrutiny and several interviews, according to the Star Tribune.

"It's a lot of money," said Sgt. William Palmer, Minneapolis police spokesman.

The Associated Press reports that five officers worked on the case, including a homicide investigator pulled off his regular duties, totaling more than $1,200 of police work alone.

The county attorney will decide whether or not to charge the three girls with filing a false police report, reports KMSP-TV.

Four Injured in Factory Explosion

A glue plant exploded Sunday night in a northeastern Massachusetts town, injuring four people and potentially leading to chemical contamination in the area.

The plant was part of an industrial complex located in Middleton, Mass. The building belonged to Bostik Inc., a plastic and glue manufacturing company.

The identity of the four individuals remains unknown, but officials have confirmed that they were plant employees, according to The Boston Globe. None of the injuries are believed to be life-threatening.

Environmental and hazardous-material teams were called into the examine the air and water quality following the blast. Authorities said there was no issue of contamination for nearby residents to be concerned about.

"There is no danger at this time for individuals who live in this area," Marshal Stephen Coan told the Associated Press.

According to the Boston Herald, local residents felt the explosion from their homes.

"Initially there was an explosion that many people thought was an earthquake," Peter Judge, a spokesperson for the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, said.

Authorities are still investigating the cause of the explosion.

Speech/Meeting Analysis

The Associated Press' news report on Sen. Daniel Akaka's decision to not seek re-election had some notable differences from the press release that he sent out.

The reporter quoted the Akaka's press release twice in the report. Both quotations were along the lines of generic statements, thankful for his experiences and hopeful wishes for the future of the people of Hawaii.

While Akaka stated in the press release that he was not seeking re-election to spend time with family and "to spend time documenting my life and career", the report included "a tiny campaign war chest and indications that powerful Democrats wouldn't support a re-election bid" as motivating factors.

The report's focus on the reality of the situation had a noticeably more upfront tone than Akaka's heartfelt press release. Furthermore, the report quickly shifted to what the decision meant for both the GOP and Democrats in 2012 as both parties looked to fill his seat.

The report made choices to provide more background and a glimpse into the future in the coverage of this story, while recognizing the sentimental quality of his decision through quotations from both his press release.

Franco Curses at Yale Daily News

Actor, Oscar co-host and Yale Ph.D. candidate James Franco tweeted an expletive at the university's newspaper following criticisms from a writer on staff.

Cokey Cohen, 20, of the Yale Daily News wrote that Franco's Twitter account "sort of sucks" in a piece posted on Saturday, the day before Franco hosted the Academy Awards.

Franco, who was already receiving negative reviews for his performance on Sunday night, tweeted "F*** The Yale Daily News" in red letters over a picture of himself.

Franco joined Twitter two weeks ago as an effort to modernize and promote the Oscars, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Cohen posted a response on the Yale Daily News website, calling this episode "the pinnacle of my career as a writer" for having garnered the actor's attention.

She told The New Haven Register that her original post was intended to be "tongue-in-cheek" and that she is in fact a fan of Franco.

Franco has not spoken out about the incident since his tweet.

Car Goes Through SuperAmerica State, Hits Customer

A Wyoming woman's car drove through the front of a SuperAmerican gas station in Forest Lake on Thursday morning and hit a man inside.

The Forest Lake man, 71, was at the counter when the car struck him at about 11:30 a.m.

He suffered minor injuries to his hand, according to KSTP-TV.

Police are still investigating the cause of the accident.

Forest Lake Police Chief Clark Quiring said the woman's foot may have slipped from the brake pedal to the gas or that she mistakenly hit the gas thinking it was the brake, reports The Forest Lake Times.

The car was removed after the fire department cut the metal from the building.

KMSP-TV reports the SuperAmerica was closed for the rest of Thursday but may reopen again on Friday.

Mother Charged with DWI, Kids in Car

A Rochester woman has been charged with drunk driving after crashing her car with five children inside on early Monday near Hampton.

Kyra Larae Lindsey, 30, ran into a guard rail on Highway 52 at around 2:45 a.m. on Monday with children who were 9, 8, 6 and 4 years old and a three month old.

The four oldest children suffered minor injuries, according to KTTC.

Lindsey appeared intoxicated and failed a Breathalyzer along with roadside tests.

KARE reports that she told a deputy that she had had "one" drink more than four hours earlier.

Lindsey appeared in Dakota County Court on Wednesday and was charged with four counts of criminal vehicular operation, one count of child endangerment and one count of 3rd degree driving while impaired.

"Obviously, the danger increases dramatically when you have children in the car with you at the time," said Dakota County attorney James Backstrom, according to KMSP-TV.

Lindsey is scheduled to appear in court again April 4.

North Carolina Population Increases Nearly 20%

North Carolina's population grew nearly twice as much as the national population did over the past decade, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The state's population grew 18.5 percent over the past 10 years, compared to the 9.7 percent growth in the entire United States.

This recent jump pushed North Carolina one place up on the most populous state rankings - ahead of New Jersey - to become the 10th in the country.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the state has increased the number of both high-skilled and low-skilled jobs, leading to its increase.

It also cites the low housing costs and favorable climate as other reasons.

While all demographics saw growth, North Carolina's Hispanic population increased 111 percent, from 400,000 to 800,120. The black population and white population grew 18 percent and 13 percent, respectively.

Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Greensboro and Durham are cities where the white population is the minority, according to USA Today. Raleigh is the only one with a white majority.

Charlotte still remains the state's most populous city after a 35.2 percent growth, totaling 731,424 residents.

Pirates Capture Danish Yacht

Denmark's Foreign Ministry announced on Monday seven Danish citizens, including a family of five, had their yacht hijacked by Arabian Sea pirates on Thursday.

Two crew members, three teenagers and their parents were aboard the yacht when the pirates boarded.

The New York Daily News reported that the pirates are Somali after uncertainty from various source of their nationality. The seized yacht is currently headed towards Somalia.

One pirate said the hostages would be killed if there was any attempt to rescue them.

"It's almost unbearable to think that there are children involved and I can only sharply denounce the pirates' actions," Danish Foreign Minister Lene Espersen said to BBC.

Denmark is part of the international antipiracy patrols in the Arabian Sea. Denmark has traditionally preferred negotiating with pirates rather than aggressively pressuring them.

The ministry did not provide an explanation as to why they had waited until Monday to make an announcement, although they had informed the captors' families, according to The New York Times.

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