March 2011 Archives

Higher radiation levels are found at plant

Extremely high radiation levels were found at the devastated Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan on Thursday, which slowed down work on the facility and again put into question the containment vessels that hold the fuel rods, reported the Los Angeles Times.

According to Tokyo Electric Power Co. officials, the levels of radioactive iodine in the water at the plant jumped to levels 10,000 times the normal limit, and ultimately prohibited workers from getting near the water, reported the Los Angeles Times.

According to the New York Times, the nuclear plant crisis only adds onto the list of challenges facing Japan, a country with a death toll of over 11,000 people, with tens of thousands of people displaced, and wide-spread destruction from the earthquake and tsunami that hit three weeks ago.

The workers at Fukushima nuclear plant are doing everything in their power to avoid full nuclear meltdowns, but the floods of dangerously contaminated radioactive water have, to say in the least, complicated their efforts, according to the NY Times.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates reaffirmed Thursday his opposition to putting American ground troops in Libya, but countered by saying that allies involved in the operation might provide assistance to the rebels, on account of the advances made by Col. Moammar Kadafi's forces, reported the Los Angeles Times.

Gates knows that the Obama administration is still debating on whether to supply arms to the rebel forces or not, but thinks that what they need most is training, according to the Los Angeles Times.

At a congressional panel on Thursday, Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, answered questions from angry Congress members who are deeply conflicted with President Obama's exact plans for U.S. involvement in Libya, reported the New York Times.

In his opening statement to the House committee, Gates clarified that the U.S. involvement would be limited, and that he thinks the conflict would probably end once Colonel Qaddafi is out of power as a result of economic or political pressures, according to the New York Times.

Analysis: news obituary

I focused on the obituary of Geraldine A. Ferraro, whose claim to fame was being the first woman to be nominated for national office by a major party.

The sources that are used in her obituary range from her family, to Ann Richards (who first handedly experienced the time when Ferraro was nominated and what that meant for women politicians), to President Barack Obama and also includes other notable politicians.

The lead is not quite standard as it more so paints a picture of a prolific moment in Ferraro's life, but also includes what was most notable about her as a female politician. I think the lead completely works because it gives specificity but also only focuses on her political accomplishments and not her life as a mother or in another type of role.

The obituary differs from a resume in the sense that I do not get a list from the reporter about her accomplishments and when she accomplished what. I think that the information is presented in a way that really shows Ferraro's impact on the political world and future politicians.

Link to the obit

The damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex in Japan showed elevated levels of radiation on Sunday, which raised the possibility of spreading contamination and lead to a forced emergency evacuation for a section of the plant, reported the New York Times.

According to the New York Times, after a worker, attempting to measure radiation levels in water puddles, saw his dosimeter jump to the highest reading of radiation levels, he left the scene immediately, said the operator of the Fukushima plant.

The Los Angeles Times reported, that officials at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant late Sunday took back the announcement that puddles at the No. 2 reactor contained 10 million times more radioactivity, compared to the normal amount in water in a normal functioning reactor.

According to the Los Angeles Times it was not immediately clear what lead to the misreading of the radiation level in the water, or even what the real level is.

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar said that she will bring forth legislation on Monday that intends to preserve evidence of military sexual trauma incidents, in hopes of addressing one of the biggest problems facing the armed services as more women continue to enlist, reported the Star Tribune.

Klobuchar's bill is intended to assist victims of sexual assault and trauma in the military, and to allow research into military sexual assault and harassment, also known as MST, Military Sexual Trauma, according to the Star Tribune.

The Minnesota Democrat says that people in the military reported over 3,000 sexual assaults in 2009, which is 11 percent higher than the previous year, reported The Republic.

According to The Republic the new legislation will help the victims who may not report the sexual assault case immediately, but who seek benefits and treatment for it afterward.

4-year-old boy dies in snow plowing accident

An Akeley father accidentally backed over his 4-year-old son and killed him while plowing snow on Thursday, according to the Star Tribune.

According to relatives, Kyle Vredenburg was riding his bicycle towards the area where his father was plowing, when his sister tried to call him back closer but it was too late, reported the Star Tribune.

A family relative said Ron Vredenburg, Kyle's father, had always stressed the importance of safety around equipment, and said that he was moving snow quite a distance from the house, reported Duluth News Tribune.

"The family wants to stress that this was an accident...a very sad and tragic accident," said Marv Vredenburg, brother of Ron Vredenburg, according to the Duluth News Tribune.

Tim Pawlenty, our next president?

Tim Pawlenty, the former governor of Minnesota, filed his paperwork with federal elections officials on Monday, as the first major Republican to take the step towards being a formal presidential candidate, reported the Los Angeles Times.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Pawlenty has already organized a team in Iowa and New Hampshire and has made multiple visits to both states.

Pawlenty said in an interview last week that he thought he had unique appeal to economic and social conservatives, along with a blue-collar directed campaign message, reported the Los Angeles Times.

According to the Star Tribune, the 2012 Republican field is flawed in the fact that there is no serious GOP contender without a personal misstep or policy move that angers the Republican party base.

U.S. fighter jet crashed in Libya

According to the Los Angeles Times, two American Air Force crew members were rescued before their fighter jet crashed in Libya late on Monday, from what the U.S. military said was a mechanical malfunction.

The LA Times reported that one crew member was safely found by LIbyan rebels, and that the other was found by a U.S. search and rescue team.

The New York Times reported that ground fighting continued on Tuesday, and that the jet crash was the first evident setback for the international Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi supporter forces.

According to the NY Times, a British news channel reported that six villagers were shot during the plane crash rescue operation. None were reported killed, but the U.S. military said they were investigating the reports.

Terror hearing turns political as emotions run high

The televised House hearing on Thursday turned extremely emotional and politically charged, not solely because of the delicate topic material, which was a discussion on terrorist sympathies in regards to Muslim Americans, but because lawmakers mostly just accused each other, reported the New York Times.

According to the New York Times, Republican lawmakers accused Democrat lawmakers of sacrificing security, while Democrat lawmakers accused Republican lawmakers of counting out non-Muslim acts of terrorism, such as whitesupremacist hate crimes.

The Seattle Times reported that the sharp political divisions at the hearing only put into perspective a country still conflicted with how to fight terrorism, nearly a decade after the 9/11 attacks.

Furthermore, Al-Qaida has used the strategy of targeting young American Muslims to commit acts of terror, and the U.S. government has no idea how to combat those efforts, reported the Seattle Times.

Gophers bid farewell to WCCO

The University of Minnesota athletic department ended its nearly 70-year-old relationship with WCCO radio on Wednesday, reported the Minnesota Daily.

According to the Daily, next fall the Gopher football coverage will be taken over by Clear Channel's KFAN, while men's and women's basketball and men's hockey will be covered by the local ESPN station.

The Star Tribune reported that the Vikings were taken off of KFAN roughly a decade ago and that the Twins transitioned to KSTP four years back, thus resulting in the Gopher sports coverage moves.

According to the Star Tribune, Ray Christensen, the long-time WCCO-AM voice for 50 seasons of Gophers football, said "As someone who remembers the golden years, I hate to see it happen."

The budget cut targets released by legislative Republicans on Thursday, would reduce higher education funding by $411 million, which is more than double what DFL Gov. Mark Dayton's proposed, reported the Minnesota Daily.

In attempts to solve Minnesota's $5 billion projected deficit, GOP committee chairs in both chambers have been told to finalize and specify the target cuts, and make the end deadline of March 25, according to the MN Daily.

The Star Tribune reported that the fight over local government aid erupted at the Capitol Wednesday, as mayors from all across the state asked for more funding reinforced by the support of local chambers of commerce, reported the Star Tribune.

Apparently some local members of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce are rebelling, while the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce itself wants its aid reduced to cut down the state deficit, according to the Star Tribune.

Yemen's leader proposes to shift power

President Ali Abdullah Saleh proposed on Thursday to shift more power to Parliament, trying to calm down the challenges aimed at his 32-year-old rule, but doubted that the opposition would accept his offer, reported the New York Times.

The announcement Saleh made on Thursday was notoriously vague, and gave no real indication how much power he would actually shift to the Parliament and the prime minister, according to the New York Times.

On Tuesday, witnesses said that dozens of people were injured after Yemen security forces opened fire on demonstrators demanding that Saleh step down from power, reported the Los Angeles Times.

According to the protesters, the officers used live ammunition and tear gas, when protesters tried to non-violently stake new territory for a massive sit-in close to Sana University, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Thousands of protesters crowded in the Capitol building in Madison, which police tried to cut off access to on Thursday, to protest a bill Republican State Assembly members were set to vote on that eliminates state employees' bargaining rights, reported the New York Times.

Protesters clogged the hallways and some security-check points in the Capitol building on Thursday, to make it difficult for the GOP-controlled Assembly to begin its consideration of the latest version of Gov. Scott Walker's plan, reported the Los Angeles Times.

Republican members alone casted their votes for similar legislation on Wednesday, while the Democrats continued to boycott the bill by remaining out of Wisconsin, according to the New York Times.

Protesters continued their demonstrations by pounding on plastic buckets with drumsticks, waving the American flag, and marching with pro-union signs, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Analysis: Press conference coverage

This story from Winona Daily News covers a press conference that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker held on Tuesday at Colgan Air Services in La Crosse. The agenda for this press conference is what Walker will do for local governments and schools once his budget repair bill is passed, and his budget is enacted.

In comparison to the agenda of this press conference, the news report illustrates how Walker's bill and his proposed two-year spending plan will directly affect state employees using percentages and specific numbers. Walker is trying to get support for his budget from people of the state Legislature but this audience would react differently than say if state employees were the audience for this conference.

The choices that the reported made in crafting the news story is that they put the most newsworthy information first. The most important aspect to take from Walker's press conference is that his budget would cut more than $1 billion from state aid that goes to local government and school districts. The reporter made the choice to focus on more of what his budget would actually do if passed than what he said it would do during the press conference.

According to the Star Tribune, two people died after a driver impaired by alcohol crashed into them in the Brooklyn Center Saturday night, authorities said.

The Star Tribune reported that the driver and his passenger, both impaired by alcohol, tried to flee on foot after the crash, but witnesses stopped the driver from leaving, the state patrol said.

According to the Pioneer Press, State Patrol spokesman Lt. Eric Roeske told WCCO Radio that the car was moving at a high speed and ran a red light at Highway 100 and 57th Street, when it T-boned the other car and killed the two people inside.

Killed at the scene were Jessica Vallis, 21, of Minneapolis and George Kaffey, 22, of Bloomington, reported the Pioneer Press.

Baby was thrown in Minneapolis snowbank; Parents arrested

The Star Tribune reported that a mother threw her 18-day-old baby girl, wearing only a t-shirt and blanket, into a snowbank Saturday morning according to eye witnesses.

According to the Star Tribune, police arrested the mother, 21, and she will most likely face charges of child neglect and endangerment, police spokesman Sgt. William Palmer said.

Palmer said that a witness called 911 after seeing the mother throw the baby into the snow, and they immediately retreived the baby just before the mother took her daughter back, reported the Pioneer Press.

The baby was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center, having a core temperature of 95 degrees which was considered life-threatening, the Pioneer Press reported.

The Supreme Court ruled in an 8-to-1 decision on Wednesday, that the First Amendment protects hateful picketing at military funerals, reported the Washington Post.

According to the New York Times, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for the majority, and said that the national commitment to free speech requires protection for even hurtful speech on public issues.

The case arose after members of Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., protested in Maryland at the funeral of 20-year-old Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, who was killed in Iraq, the Washington Post reported.

According to the Washington Post, the church contented that God is punishing America for its tolerance of homosexuality.

Christian Dior to fire designer John Galliano

Christian Dior, the French fashion house, said on Tuesday that it started the process of dismissing John Galliano, the chief designer, after an online video showed him praising Hitler, according to the New York Times.

Sidney Toledano, Dior Couture's chief executive, said in a statement that the words and actions of Galliano were in complete contradiction with the essential values of the Christian Dior house, reported the NY Times.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the dismissal of Galliano raises questions of which direction Dior will turn to next, being one of the world's top talents in a high-pressure industry.

According to the LA Times, the Dior house is scheduled on Friday to present its fall-winter 2011-2012 ready-to-wear show, and that Galliano was scheduled to present his own signature line on Sunday.

Refugees from Libya pour into Egypt and Tunisia

Refugees struggled to escape the unrest in Libya by fleeing to their neighboring country Tunisia on Tuesday, where Tunisian border guards fired in the air to control the chaos of the crowd, reported the New York Times.

News reports said that the Tunisian guards beat back the refugees with sticks, as people threw themselves and their belongings over the wall that stood between the border posts of the countries, according to the New York Times.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the United Nations said that over 100,000 refugees have fled to Tunisia and Egypt within the last week to escape the turmoil and violence in Libya.

In addition, more than $30 billion in Libyan assets has been frozen by U.S. officials, the largest action carried out by the U.S. government, reported the LA Times.

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