June 2012 Archives

Gov. Mark Dayton announced Friday that he is seeking a federal disaster declaration for the recent flooding in northeastern Minnesota, said the Pioneer Press.

The flooding, which impacted 13 counties and three tribal nations in northeastern, central, and southern Minnesota, caused more than $108.6 million in damage to public property alone, said Minnesota Public Radio.

Dayton said that local and state funds are working quickly now, but federal funding is needed as soon as possible to assist in cleanup and reconstruction of roads, said MPR.

Dayton expects that his request to President Obama will be approved with two weeks, said the Pioneer Press.

Duluth's chief administrative officer Dave Montgomery said that $108 million is a "conservative number," and the actual cost of the damage will be much higher, said MPR.

Dayton is working on organizing a bipartisan committee to organize and allocate state funds to assist the affected areas, said the Pioneer Press.

Ann Curry departs 'Today'

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Ann Curry, co-anchor of NBC's "Today" show, tearfully announced on-air that she was leaving the show Thursday, said The Washington Post.

Curry, who has worked on "Today" for 14 years, said during her announcement, "for all of you who saw me as a groundbreaker, I'm sorry I couldn't carry the ball over the finish line, but, man, I did try", thanking her fans for their support, reported the Los Angeles Times.

She also announced that she will still be a part of the NBC News family, as she has been given the titles of "Today" Anchor at Large and NBC News National and International Correspondent, said The Washington Post.

Although NBC has made no announcement regarding her replacement, it is widely believed that it will be Savannah Guthrie, who appeared as Matt Lauer's co-host Friday morning, said the Los Angeles Times.

NBC's reassigning of Curry comes after a heated ratings battle with ABC's "Good Morning America" and rumors that Curry would be replaced, reported the Los Angeles Times.

Mohamed Morsi, the Islamist president-elect of Egypt, read an oath of office to hundreds of thousands of supporters in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Friday, said The New York Times.

The oath is normally taken in front of parliament, but the Egyptian military, known as the Supreme Council of Armed Forces, dissolved one house of the parliament and limited the powers of the president, reported the Daily News Egypt.

Morsi said in his speech that it is the people who are "the source of all authority, power and legitimacy", expressing defiance at the recent actions of the SCAF, said the Daily News Egypt.

The president-elect also referenced the bravery of an estimated 16,000 protesters recently arrested by the Egyptian military, as well as his desire to have them freed, said the Daily News Egypt.

Morsi is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamic group with a long-standing opposition to U.S. policy, but has pledged to sustain an Egypt-U.S. alliance, said The New York Times.

Morsi will be officially sworn in Saturday during a military-sponsored general assembly tomorrow, said the Daily News Egypt.

5-year-old sleeping boy shot and killed

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A 5-year-old boy was shot and killed on Tuesday after gunshots were fired at a home in north Minneapolis, Minnesota Public Radio said.

The gunman, who has not been identified by police, ran off following the shooting at the house of the boy's grandmother, said the Pioneer Press.

Although police have not released the boy's name, family and neighbors have confirmed the boy to be Nizzel George, said the Pioneer Press.

Robert Tolliver, Nizzel's uncle, was in the house at the time of the shooting and said that he heard at least 10 shots fired, reported Minnesota Public Radio.

Although three other children were in the house, there were no other injuries, said Minnesota Public Radio.

Police believe that the shooting may involve someone who had a feud with people in the house, but no warrants have been issued, reported the Pioneer Press.

The Supreme Court struck down a majority, but not all, of Arizona's controversial immigration law in a ruling on Monday.

The court ruled that states cannot make it a crime for an illegal immigrant to apply for a job, cannot use suspicion that someone is an illegal immigrant as basis for an arrest, and cannot make it a crime for someone to lack identification proving their legal status to be in the country, on the grounds that they encroach on the federal government's power, said The Washington Post.

However, the section of the law which allows police to check the immigration status detained lawfully for another purpose was upheld, which drew criticism from immigration activists, said The Chicago Tribune.

The majority opinion of the court was written by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who stated that the law encroached on the power of the federal government, who should have dominion over the issue of immigration legislation, said The Chicago Tribune.

While President Obama is happy with the court's decision to overturn parts of the law, he said that he hopes that Arizona police "do not enforce this law in a manner that undermines the civil rights of Americans, as the Court's decision recognizes", reported The Washington Post.

The ruling on the immigration law comes as the Supreme Court has yet to make a decision on the constitutionality of Obama's healthcare law, said The Chicago Tribune.

Attribution Analysis

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In this story by the Washington Post, the attribution is very typical for a hard news story.

The story uses direct quotes, such as one from Turkish president Abdullah Gul, that are sourced from other news agencies, such as Turkish agency Anatolia and the Associated Press. Throughout the story, references to "Turkish news media" and "state news agency" are made. The reporter also cites two other Washington Post articles in their story, allowing the reader to be referenced back to those stories and gain further context about the story at hand. SANA, the official Syrian news agency, is also cited.

The sources are scattered throughout the story, with one mentioned about every other paragraph.

No records are cited, as the article relies on quotes and information from various other media agencies to convey the message of the story.

The attribution in this story is extremely effective because the reader probably would not notice the attribution unless they specifically looked for it. The flow of the article allows for the story to read quickly and seamlessly.

Father apologizes to son he abandoned at reunion

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The Lakeville man who abandoned his 12-year-old son a year ago was reunited with the boy on Thursday.

Steven Cross, 60, had an hour-long supervised reunion with his son Sebastian in a therapist's office in Lakeville, the Pioneer Press said.

Cross was sentenced in May to two years of probation for gross misdemeanor child neglect and has agreed to joint physical and legal custody with Sebastian's mother, said the Star Tribune.

Although Cross refused to comment on the meeting, Hennepin County probation officer Kimii Porter expressed doubt about the reunion, saying "it's a pretty sad story; to me it's like putting a victim back with the perpetrator", said the Star Tribune.

The boy has spent most of the past year living with his aunt, but now lives with his mother, despite repeatedly telling the court that he wanted to continue to live with his aunt, said the Pioneer Press.

A review custody hearing is scheduled for July 25 in Dakota County District Court, reported the Star Tribune.

Jurors in Sandusky trial re-hear key testimony

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The child sexual abuse trial of Jerry Sandusky resumed Friday when jurors reviewed the testimony of one of the prosecution's main witnesses.

The witness, former assistant football coach and graduate student at Penn State Mike McQueary, had previously recounted seeing Sandusky committing a sex act on a young boy in a Penn State locker room in 2001, said The New York Times.

The testimony of Dr. Jonathan Dranov was also re-read, in which Dranov stated that he spoke to McQueary on that same night in 2001 and McQueary did not mention seeing a sex act, said the Los Angeles Times.

The defense argued that there was not sufficient evidence for the sex act and that the count should be dropped. However, the judge presiding, John Cleland, said that he believed that there was "sufficient circumstantial and direct evidence for the jury to assess what crime, if any, happened," reported the Los Angeles Times.

The stories of nine alleged victims have been heard in the case so far, according to The New York Times.

TV animation community protest Emmys

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The television animation community filed a complaint Tuesday against the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences to change eligibility requirements for certain award categories.

Matt Groening and Al Jean of "The Simpsons" and Seth MacFarlane of "Family Guy", as well as over 50 additional animation producers and writers signed a complaint due to their inability to enter their scripts in traditional writing categories at the Emmy awards, said Variety.

Dharun Ravi, who was convicted of using a webcam to spy on his roommate, was released from Middlesex County jail in New Jersey on Monday.

Ravi, 20, used his webcam to spy on Rutgers roommate Tyler Clementi having sex with another man. The spying led to Clementi's suicide in 2010, said The New York Times.

Despite facing 10 years in prison, Ravi was only sentenced to 30 days in jail and his stay was later shortened to 20 days because of good behavior, said The Star-Ledger.

The case triggered outcry for stronger anti-bullying legislation and sparked the debate on how hate crimes due to sexuality should be punished, said The New York Times.

The cities of St. Paul and St. Louis Park both announced their opposition to the upcoming voter ID amendment on Monday.

In a legal brief, the city of St. Paul asked the Minnesota Supreme Court to send the bill back to the Legislature to be clarified or vetoed, questioning the legality of the amendment, said MinnPost.

Similarly, in a unanimous vote by St. Louis Park's city council, the Council passed a statement opposing the amendment, said the St. Louis Park Patch.

The Council cited concerns about absentee voting, cost to the city, and infringing on their residents' right to vote as reasons for passing the resolution, said the Patch.

"The so-called 'photo ID' question", said St. Paul City Attorney Sara Grewing, "is not authorized by law and should not be placed on the ballot."

The proposed amendment, which would require all Minnesotans to have photo identification in order to vote, will be on the ballot in November, said the Patch.

Putin and Obama agree violence in Syria needs to end

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Russia and the U.S. have reached an agreement that the hostilities in Syria need to stop.

At the G20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, President Obama and Russian president Vladimir Putin met and discussed, most notably, the conflict in Syria, said The New York Times.

Despite pressure from Obama to have Putin make a statement on Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, the joint statement made no mention of al-Assad, said The New York Times.

Also missing from the statement was any suggestion of action, such as a trade embargo or sanction, reported The Guardian.

This statement is seen as a step forward for Russia, who formerly refused to condemn the violence in Syria, said The Guardian.

Leads Analysis

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In an article written by the Wall Street Journal, the lead approaches the death of Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz from the perspective of his sons.

The 'where' (Mecca, Saudi Arabia) and 'what' (the burial of their father) are both detailed in the lead. The 'who' is more general, as it focuses on the sons of King Abdulaziz but does not list their names. When the burial took place is not included in the lead.

The lead also suggests that the royal family of Saudi Arabia is at a crossroads in a time of rapid change in the Middle East.

The reporter, Ellen Knickmeyer, likely approached the article from the perspective of the sons to both include emotion and make the story more interesting than just simply stating the time and place of the leader's burial.

Apple announces release of new map application

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Apple announced the release of a new maps app for iPhone on Monday.

The app, which will be a full revamp of Apple's previous mapping software, aims to replace Google Maps on iOS 6, which was once installed on every iPhone, said The New York Times.

The move is somewhat delayed, as main competitor Android already has a well-received maps app on phones carrying its operating system, said Wired.

Noam Bardin, chief executive of mapping service Waze, said that releasing a quality mapping app will be a challenge for Apple because of the dominance Google Maps has over the market, according to the New York Times.

iOS 6 is expected to be released alongside the iPhone 5 later this fall, according to Wired.

LGBT teens are at much higher risk for drug use, depression, harassment, and suicide, according to a study released June 7.

The civil rights group Human Rights Campaign conducted a survey of over 10,000 13- to 17-year-olds who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, as well as of 500 straight 13- to 17-year-olds, said the Los Angeles Times.

The study found that less than 50 percent of LGBT teens feel that their community is accepting of who they are, only four out of 10 LGBT teens feel happy, and that over half have been verbally harassed at school.

In response to the survey, incoming HRC president Chad Griffin stated, "We have a responsibility to change that, because we know all too well that there are real life consequences to inaction", said the Huffington Post.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the survey was conducted online due to the LGBT teen population being difficult to reach and identify.

The Obama administration has canceled the deportations of young illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children.

On Friday, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced the policy change which halted the deportation of law-abiding illegal immigrants who came to the country before they were 16 and have lived in the U.S. for five or more years, said The Associated Press. The AP also reported that the policy will also allow these people to apply for a renewable two-year work permit.

While it does not provide a path to citizenship for these immigrants, the move has garnered praise from immigration advocates, who argue that it is a step in the right direction, said the Los Angeles Times.

GOP politicians, however, have denounced the new policy, decrying it as unlawful, said the AP.

Obama will discuss details of the policy at a press conference on Friday afternoon.

General Mills announced its opposition on Wednesday to the proposed constitutional amendment which would ban same-sex marriage in Minnesota.

At a General Mills event on Wednesday, CEO Ken Powell shared the company's stance, said the Star Tribune.

Additionally, company spokesman Tom Forsythe stated that General Mills has been fostering an inclusive corporate environment "for decades", reported Minnesota Public Radio.

The National Organization for Marriage and Minnesota for Marriage, two groups in favor of the amendment, have expressed displeasure with the move, stating that the move "thrust the company into a war against marriage", said MPR.

General Mills joins a growing number of major corporations, including Nike, Microsoft, Time Warner, and Starbucks, to take a stance in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage, said the Star Tribune.

Minnesota is warming at the third highest rate in the country, according to a report released by Climate Central.

The study said that the average daily temperature in Minnesota has increased by 2.5 degrees since 1970.

Coauthor of the study Claudia Tebaldi told the Star Tribune that higher amounts of greenhouse gases in the environment are to blame for the temperature increase.

According to the Pioneer Press, assistant state climatologist Pete Boulay attributes the warming to a lack of both cold winters and heavy snow cover.

The report states that northern states such as Minnesota, as well as the southwest, have seen the highest temperature increases in the country.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has accused Russia of supplying the Syrian government with helicopters in the fight against opposition forces in the country.

On Tuesday, Clinton expressed concern about Russia's actions, believing that the recent shipment will only escalate the conflict, reported The Los Angeles Times.

According to The Guardian, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has denied these claims, stating that Russia "is not violating any international law".

The Guardian reports that both the Syrian government and the Free Syrian Army, the primary opposition force, have rejected U.N. peace plans.

President Obama will meet with Russian president Vladimir Putin on Monday during the the summit of the Group of 20 industrial nations.

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