August 12, 2007

Two reporters killed in Somalia

Two prominent Somalian radio journalists were killed Saturday in Mogadishu, the Los Angeles Times reported. The attacks were separate but related, according to authorities, and add to doubts about the future of freedom of the press in the turbulant Horn of Africa country. The first attack came in the morning, when popular talk show host Mahad Ahmed Elmi was shot in the head three times while on his way to work by masked gunmen. Later in the day, a roadside bomb disrupted Elmi's funeral procession, killing the channel's co-owner, Ali Iman Sharmarke. The radio channel, which is privately owned, was critical of both the transitional government currently in control of Somalia and the insurgents who have continued to fight in the country's civil war, which started 16 years ago. At least four other journalists have been killed in Somalia this year.

August 4, 2007

Train derails in Congo

A train that derailed in a rural area of Congo has killed at least 68 people, the Washington Post reported Friday. This vast central African country struggled to respond adequately to the disater because of poor road quality, lask of resque equipment and subpar hospitals. Hundreds of people were on top of the train or hanging onto its sides because of the utter lack of mass transit options. A mechanical error is being blamed as the error that caused all eight cars to jump off the track Wednesday. The death toll is likely to rise because many people are still trapped in or under the train and many more have life-threatening injuries. The nearest hospital, which was eight miles away, has only 22 beds.

July 29, 2007

Iraq wins Asian Cup

The Iraqi national soccer team won their first ever Asian Cup championship Sunday, the New York Times reported. Celebrants poured into the streets around the country and defied authority orders by firing celebratory gun shots. Iraq beat Saudi Arabia 1-0 in the championship match, becoming the ultimate Cinderella story. Saudi Arabia has won the Asian Cup three times, as opposed to the Iraqi team, which had never even made it to the final match before Sunday's victory. At least four people died in the celebrations that broke out around the country after the match ended.

July 20, 2007

Brasilian plane crash kills hundreds

At least 189 people died Tuesday after a plane crash in Sao Paulo, Brasil. The crash, which is still under investigation, occured while the plane was landing at South America's busiest airport. Critics are already pointing to the unusually short length of the runway as the possible cause of the crash. Just a day before, a smaller plane had skid off the runway of the same airport during landing. However, no one was hurt in that accident. Officials warned that the death toll could rise, however, this is already the most deadly airplane accident in the world in the last five years. Brasil's president has vowed changes will be made to the country's airline system.

July 15, 2007

Afghanistan frees teen bomber President Hamid Karzai freed a Pakastani teen accused of planning a suicide bombing, ABC News reported Sunday. The 14-year-old told authorities he was recruited in his madrassa along with two other teenage boys to carry out suicide bombings in neighboring Afghanistan. The boy walked over eight hours to the eastern Afghan city of Khost with directions to kill an Afghani governor. The boy was detained the night before his attack was supposed to take place. Afghani President Karzai forgave the boy and pointed to him as an example of a growing trend in which children are being recruited by Taliban-affliated terrorist groups. This, according to the United Nations, is a war crime.

June 20, 2007

Israel Strikes

Israel fired missels and sent tanks into the Gaza Strip Wednesday, the Associated Press reported. The attack killed at least 4 Palestinians, the deadliest attack since Hamas took control of the volatile coastal strip of land. Simultaneously, Israel eased restrictions for traveling in and out of the Gaza Strip, allowing a few seriously ill or wounded Palestinians into Israeli hospitals. Israeli officials said the foray across their boarder was planned in response to military activity in Gaza, including suspected arms smuggeling across the boarder.

June 7, 2007

Bush derails G8 climate initiatives

The White House effectively derailed climate change initiatives being discussed at the G8 summit meeting in a Baltic Sea resort Wednesday, the New York Times reported. The initiative was backed by one of President Bush's strongest European allies, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany.

The White House said it would resist pressure to committ to long-term targets in national greenhouse gas emission, which was one of Chancellor Merkel's main priorities at the annual meeting of the world's eight wealthiest nations.

Wednesday's tension only begins the week of massive protesting in the seaside German town of Heiligendamm, with an important meeting between President Bush and Russia's President Vladimir Putin slated for Thursday. White House relations with Russia have been suffering lately and Thursday's private meeting in intended to discuss some of those differences.

May 27, 2007

Russian police arrest gay activists

Russian police detained gay rights activists Sunday as they tried to present a letter to Moscow's mayor, the Seattle Post Intelligencer reported Sunday. Those arrested included some of the 40 European lawmakers who signed the letter appealing the city's ban on a march that would have taken place Sunday to mark the fourteenth anniversary of Russia decriminalizing homosexuality.

Police arrested Russia's gay rights leader Nikolai Alexeyev and about a dozen others during the standoff. Also among those arrested was German parilment member Volker Beck. Gay rights opponents also showed up to the event, protesting the march by throwing eggs and punching the activists.

This article was interesting because it appeared to rely on the first hand experiences of the Associated Press journalist. In fact, it was not until the sixth paragraph that the article noted any attribution at all. The first five paragraphs were not presented in a personal observation manner, but rather laden with information on the incident, including estimates of crowd size and police force. Every quote is pulled indirectly from an interview the source had with another media organization. The only direct attribution seems to be from the Moscow police department. Considering the chaotic nature of the event and the multiple nations the activists came from and returned to, it is understandable that the article would be a little light on direct attribution. However, it is questionable that the reporter relies on and relates only his impressions and estimates until the sixth paragraph of the article.

May 26, 2007

Turkish Leader Vetoes Election Changes

Turkey's president vetoed a constitutional amendment Friday that would have allowed the people to elect the president. Under Turkey's current constitution, Parliment elects the president, the Washington Post reported. The veto ended a dramatic week in Turkish politics, highlighted by an all out brawl between two factions of Parliment earlier in the week.

Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer said the country's democratic system was not designed for the public to elect the president and cited his worries about political instability following the amendment as the reason for his veto.

The veto was a setback for Turkish leaders pushing for a more liberal democratic system, but is not the end of the movement all together. If parliment were to pass the bill again, the president is not allowed to veto the same bill twice.

The military in this Islamic-ruled country threatened to intervene to protect the secular government system currently in place and secular Turks held rallies in multiple cities in the weeks leading up to the veto.

May 14, 2007

Al-Qaida captures 3 US troops

United States military officials confirmed Monday that an Al-Qaida linked group may be responsible for three missing U.S. soliders, the Associated Press reported Monday morning. On an Islamic extremist website, the group posted a message to US military officials telling them to call off the search for the missing soliders and suggested the abduction was a retaliation for the rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl in the area last year. Five U.S. soliders have been convicted in that case. Over 4,000 troops searched the area about 20 miles south of Baghdad over the weekend and made multiple arrests but have not found the soliders.

Reuters also said that, from the message the terrorist group posted on the website, it appeared that the three solidiers were still alive. They have not been identified yet but were part of a group on patrol when a roadside bomb exploded and killed four US solidiers and an Iraqi soldier acting as a translator.

April 29, 2007

Tamil Tigers continue air strikes

The Times reported Sunday that the Tamil Tigers, a rebel ethnic group in Sri Lanka, carried out its third attack in just over a month yesterday. The air strike targeted fuel depots in Sri Lanka's capital, Colombo. Meanwhile, thousands of residents were gathered in outdoor venues like parks, hotels and bars to watch the cricket World Cup final on large projector screens. The Sydney Morning Herald also reported on the attack. This report said the city was plunged into darkness after the bombings and people scrambled to get to shelter. Five people were taken to the hospital according to medic reports but no one was killed. According to the Sri Lakan government, bombs dropped on one depot caused minor damage and ones dropped on another depot failed to detonate.

February 14, 2007

US and Britain rank low for kids' well being

According to a UNICEF report released Wednesday, the United States and Great Britain rank lowest in a study of children's well being in 21 industrialized countries. The Neatherlands ranked highest overall in the study, with other Scandinavian countries also ranking high on the list. One major emphasis of the results was that there is no apparent link between the wealth of a country and the well-being of that nation's youngsters. For example, the Czech Republic ranked relatively high overall but its wealth pales in comparison to the US.

The study results were picked up by numerous news services Wednesday, including Spiegel online, the International Herald Tribune, and Reuters. While the focus of these reports varied slightly depending on the audience (for example, Spanish news service Expatica focused on Spain's ranking in the list), all of the stories emphasized the low rankings of the two most wealthy nations in the world, the US and Britain.

The report focused on 40 variables that UNICEF deemed to be important in the well-being of children. The US ranked worst for health and safety, and only Britain ranked lower in the relationships/ risky or bad behavior category. The US's highest ranking was in the education category, where it came in 12 out of 21. The happiest children are in northern Europe, according to the report, but all of the nations have areas to improve upon. Analysists blame the low rankings of the US and Britain on the large inequality between the haves and the have-nots in each society, also pointing to lack of government and societal support of the family unit as another factor in the nations dismal study results.

January 26, 2007

MN troops rescue torture victims

Another story covered in both major market newspapers today was the involvement of Minnesota National Guard in rescuing three torture victims in a house near Fallujah, Iraq.

Both the P. Press and the Strib started their lede's with mentioning the Minnesota National Guard. This is important in Minnesota, obviously, because it is a hometown connection to the story.

Both ledes mention the three torture victims discovered in the house. Neither gives any detail as to who these people are or how long they had been there.

Both ledes also paint the gruesome picture of the scene by saying the walls were bloody. However, the Strib takes this point further in the lede by also detailing some of the weapons used to torture the victims. The P. Press does not mention these details.