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February 29, 2008

Prince Harry pulled from Afghanistan

LONDON - England's Prince Harry will be pulled from battle in Afghanistan following concerns over the 23-year-old Royal's safety, reports CNN.

Prince Harry has been serving in Afghanistan for the past 10-weeks, media outlets have been tight lipped about the details up until details on the Prince's military duties were revealed on the U.S. website "The Drudge report."

Military officials had feared that if details of the Prince's tour were revealed he could become a target for the Taliban and other terrorist organizations in the area.

Prince Harry, who is third in line to the thrown of England, has been receiving positive reviews from his commanding officers. "He has been fully involved in operations and has run the same risks as everyone else in his battle group. In common with all of his generation in the army today, he is a credit to the nation," said Gen. Richard Dannatt.



Fake my ride

MILAN - Italian officials have broken up a counterfeit ring that specialized in imitation Ferrari's, reports the BBC. Those involved allegedly assembled the imitation sports car while using more inexpensive automobiles such as Pontiac's, and Toyota's, then the cars would be sold on the internet for around $30,000, a mere fraction of the actual cost.

Police say that the buyers of the fakes were fully aware of that they were buying counterfeit cars, but wanted to purchase the Italian status symbol at a greatly reduced cost.

There have been 15 arrests made so far in the case, as well as 21 cars confiscated. All the arrests made were said to be of experienced mechanics.



February 24, 2008

Russia may use force in Kosovo

The the wake of Kosovo's declaration of independence, Russia has warned it may be forced to take military action if NATO forces, along with the EU exceed the mandate set by the UN.

The Russian government feels that there is no legal basis for NATO forces to be involved in the conflict.

Kosovo declared it's independence from Serbia on February 17, sparking widespread violence.

Several EU nations have accepted Kosovo's newly declared independence, however, several countries are still strongly opposed, Russia included among them.



Van driver charged in deadly crash

The van driver responsible for the accident which killed four children Tuesday has been charged with criminal vehicular homicide, the Associated Press reported Friday.

Alianiss Nunez Morales, 23, ran through a stop sign and collided with the school bus, carrying 28 children, near the Southwestern town of Cottonwood.

Agents belonging to Immigration and Customs Enforcement believe that Morales is in the United States illegally. She does not have a valid Minnesota drivers license and has not given authorities her real name.

Morales faces four counts of homicide, each carrying a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

The Pioneer Press reported thursday that the ages of the victims ranged from 9 to 13. A memorial for the students killed took place on Thursday.



Students murder labeled a hate crime

OXNARD, Calif - The murder of a 15-year-old California boy is now being called a hate crime by prosecutors, reports the New York Times.

Lawrence King was shot dead Tuesday in the computer lab at his Oxnard junior high school. The alleged shooter, Brandon McInerney, 14, is one of King's classmates. McInerney has formally been charged with murder as a premeditated hate crime and gun possession. If convicted he could face anywhere from 52 years to life in prison.

Authorities say that King had, in recent weeks, come out as homosexual and faced criticism and bullying by other students. Authorities have not released information yet as to why they labeled the act as a hate crime.

CNN reports that the shooting took place towards the beginning of the school day and that the school had been locked down after the shooting.



February 18, 2008

Japan's Crown Prince told to visit parents more often

Japan's Crown Prince Naruhito has been told by The Grand Steward of the Imperial Household Agency to visit the emperor and empress of Japan more often, the BBC reports.

Shingo Haketa called a rare news conference Wednesday to urge Crown Prince Naruhito to make more time for his parents. The emperor has made several statements expressing that he and the empress haven't had many opportunities to spend with his granddaughter, Princess Aiko.

Naruhito's wife, Princess Masako, has apparently been suffering from a mental illness that has kept her from making public appearances. The illness is allegedly caused by the strains that imperial life has cause the 44-year-old, reports Reuters.

The Crown Prince and Princess have yet respond to The Grand Stewards statement.



February 17, 2008


The article this week I chose to analyze, in terms of structure, is on the recent illegal road race crash. The reason I chose this article is because earlier in the week I had written a blog entry on it and afterwards more information surfaced. I found it intriguing how much my blog was off, based on the initial information I received. Since then one person who was injured died from their injuries and we learned that the main vehicle involved in the incident wasn't actually involved in the illegal race.

In the latest article by the New York Times it leads off with a strong lead, informing the reader how many were killed and when it happened, and of course what was the general cause. After writing about the specifics, how the situation occurred, about half way into the article it states that no charges had been filed. This illustrates that the main story is the crash and the victims and not whether or not the driver had committed any crime.


Kindergarten student injured by falling radiator

A Chaska kindergarten student was injured Thursday afternoon when a radiator crashed through the ceiling of his classroom, reported the Star Tribune.

The kindergarten class at Guardian Angels Catholic School, in Chaska, was celebrating Valentines day when the 400-pound heater fell through the ceiling, breaking the young student's leg. The incident also injured two fellow students and two teachers, but none of those injuries were serious enough to require medical treatment.

The Pioneer Press reports the piece of equipment being about 3-feet by 5-feet in size. It is unclear what caused the fall but structural engineers are expected to look into the exact cause.

With the exception of the student whose leg was broken, all students were healthy enough to attend class the next day.



February 16, 2008

7 spectators killed at illegal drag race

Seven people were killed early Saturday morning when they were struck by a car that was apparently involved in an illegal road race in suburban Maryland, reports the New York Times.

The crowd had assembled to watch the race but one of the cars, a white sedan, spun out of the control and collided with the crowded, killing 7 and injuring 4. The condition of the 4 injured was not immediately known.

ABC news also reports that a tractor trailer may also have hit one of the pedestrians while trying to avoid the accident.

''There were just bodies everywhere; it was horrible,'' said eyewitness Crystal Gaines, whose father was among the dead.

Police have declared the crime scene to be about 200 yards long, with bodies laying out on the road as well as the shoulder.

The spot on Route 210 in Accokeek is notorious when it comes to road racing. The smoothness of the road and long straightaways make it ideal for racing. However, most races involve motorcycles and police say they haven't had a big issues with cars racing in the area.



Former Nazi guard begins life sentence

Canadian officals handed over a former Nazi SS-guard to Italian police Friday, to begin serving a life sentence for absentia and war crimes, reports the BBC.

Michael Seifert, 83, who worked as a guard at a Nazi prison camp in the northern city of Bolzano during WWII was convicted by an Italian military tribunal in 2000. Seifert made several attempts to prevent extradition to Italy, but last month Canada's Supreme Court refused to hear his case and his extradition was made official.

Seifert fled to Canada after the war in 1951 where he attempted to create a new life and hide from his past crimes. Nicknamed by the public as the "Beast of Bolzano" Seifert was accused of many heinous crimes, including allowing prisoners to starve to death, as well as raping and murdering a pregnant woman.

However, due to the 83-year-olds failing health, he currently has a pacemaker, he may be able to serve out the remainder of his term under house arrest.



Teens arrested in stabbing death

Two teens were arrested Friday in connection with the stabbing death of 70-year-old Pirkko Gaultney, in Minneapolis, as reported Friday by the Star Tribune.

The two teens, whose identities have not yet been released by police, are said to be brothers ages 15 and 16. The brothers were apprehended Friday at Robbinsdale Armstrong High School, in Plymouth.

The teens are the second set of arrests made in connection with Gaultney's slaying. A 15-year-old boy was arrested after his father had notified police that the boy was in possession of Gaultney's credit card.

KSTP reports that Gaultney's body was discovered in her home Wednesday night, dead from apparent stab wounds. Her home had apparent signs of forced entry, according to police.

The three teens held in the case have not yet been formally charged, police say that all three are acquainted with each other but have no gang affiliations.



February 10, 2008


For this weeks analysis on attribution I'll be looking at an article in the Star Tribune which covered the arctic like weather that the area is experiencing and mainly how the weather can effect someones commute.

The article features several direct quotes, the first being from a Clay County Deputy Sheriff, the deputy warns readers to look ahead in the forecast. He is a credible source as he's obviously one of the first responders when motorists can stranded on the highways.

A quote from a spokesperson from the Minnesota Department of Transportation is also featured in the article. This quote is interestingly used as a segue into further details of how MNDOT is reacting to the dangerous weather conditions.

It seems that MNDOT as well as the sheriffs department were the two sources used most throughout the article, and were in fact the most effective in getting across the writers serious tone on the issue.


Picasso paintings stolen

The BBC reports that two works by Pablo Picasso were stolen Wednesday from a gallery in Switzerland. "Horse's Head" as well as "Glass and Pitcher" were apparently taken shortly after the art gallery had closed.

Police are looking into whether or not the thieve hid out in the gallery once it closed and made off with the paintings then.

The paintings which were estimated at about 4.5 million dollars, were part of an exhibition which featured 20 original paintings. This is the second heist of Picasso's work with in two months. In December of 2007 two paintings were taken from the Museum of Art of Sao Paulo in Brazil. Those works were later recovered in January.



Deal reached in writers strike

The New York Times reported Saturday that a tentative deal has been reached between striking members of the Writers Guild have reached a tentative deal with production companies, that could be the end of a three month walkout which has halted production on numerous television shows and movies.

The new deal, which could allow writers to return to work as soon as Monday, gives writers a percentage of the profits made by online and other new media products. According to Variety, members of the WGA are expected to vote on the new contract Sunday.

If the members agree on these terms it would bring a great relief to production companies and the Entertainment industry in general. It would also rescue the Academy Awards Ceremony from the same fate that the Golden Globes experienced earlier in the year.



February 8, 2008

Tunnel discovered at Stillwater Prison

The Pioneer Press has reported that official at the Stillwater Prison discovered an escape tunnel late Wednesday morning. Though they are remaining tight lipped when it comes to details about the tunnels construction they are assuring the public that all all prisoners are accounted for and that there is no present danger.

The tunnel which was discovered beneath a storage facility at the rear of the prison was apparently a long way from completion. The distance between the building where the tunnel was discovered and the prison wall is roughly 50 to 60 feet. Officials didn't release just how long this tunnel was, but said that it had a long way to go before it was complete.

Despite the fact that the tunnel was discovered in its early stages of construction the prison still plans on implementing new security measures to prevent attempts such as this in the future.



Former Gopher pleads not guilty

KSTP reported Friday that former Minnesota Gophers football player Dominic Jones has pleaded not guilty to charges of sexual assault. The charges stem from a complaint that surfaced last April in which an 18-year-old woman claimed that she was assaulted by four of the players, Jones included.

The woman claims that after an evening of drinking alcohol she was too inebriated to give her consent. At which point she was allegedly assaulted by three of the players who took turns having sex with the woman.

Dominic Jones arrived at the location later and also had sex with the victim. This act was recorded via a cell phone and police were able to identify Jones through DNA testing.

Although the three other players haven't been charged in the crime, the University's football team has cut its ties with the men.


Russia says it will retaliate amid claims of new arms race

The BBC reports that in a speech Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke of Russia's goals for the future amid growing concern of a new arms race. Moscow feels that its concerns on security have been ignored by Western countries and NATO and will have to pursue new military technologies to keep up.

"In effect, we are forced to retaliate...Russia has and always will have a response to these new challenges," Putin said, as quoted by Reuters.

Russia's main concern is with the United States' missile defense shield which will soon be included in Central European countries such as Poland and the Czech Republic.

In response Russia has began to strengthening its military force and has resumed naval exercises in such areas as the Mediterranean sea and the Atlantic ocean. In his speech, Putin also made reference to developing new nuclear-capable missiles.



February 3, 2008

Obama Speaks to Packed Target Center

Presidential hopeful Barack Obama spoke to a near sell out crowd at the Target Center Saturday afternoon, reports the Pioneer Press. The Target Center was nearly filled to it's capacity of 20,000 with many spectators waiting five hours to get their seats.

Obama spoke to the crowd of supporters about his message of hope and change, a common theme that has driven his campaign so far.

The visit comes just days before Minnesotans, and many other states vote in their primary elections on Tuesday, known commonly by the press as "Super Tuesday," because of it's importance in the candidates race for their parties nomination.


Aborigines To Receive Apology From Australian Governement

When the Australian legislature convenes on February 13, their first first order of business will be to issue an official apology the Aboriginal people, reports the BBC. The apology will be aimed at what's called the "Stolen Generation," referring to the time from 1915 - 1969 when children of Aborigines were taken from their families and placed into white foster homes of state run institutions as a means of assimilation.

The apology comes as on the heals of a major victory for the Australian labor party and Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who won recent elections and ousted former Prime Minister John Howard. Howard was and still is a stanuch opponent to the apology, he was recently quoted in the New York Times saying, "“There are millions of Australians who will never entertain an apology because they don’t believe that there is anything to apologize for. They are sorry for past mistreatment, but that is different from assuming responsibility for it.?




The lead that I'll be analyzing was posted in an article titled "Progress Toward Ending Writers' Strike" on the New York Times' website on February 2nd. It reads as follows.

"LOS ANGELES — Informal talks between representatives of Hollywood’s striking writers and production companies have eliminated the major roadblocks to a new contract, which could lead to a tentative agreement as early as next week, according to people who were briefed on the situation but requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak."

This lead exemplifies all the elements of a typical hard news story lead. As with most new leads the most important element is the WHAT, in this case the WHATis that progress has been made by eliminating "roadblocks" that have kept both sides of the writers strike from reaching a deal. The WHO, which is the second most important part of the story is one of the first things the reader discovers, striking writers and production companies.

However, one could argue that given the prominence of the writers strike that the WHO in this news lead is actually more important or of equal importance as the WHAT in the story.


February 1, 2008

Health Department Says HPV Vaccine Should Not Be Mandatory

The Star Tribune reported Friday that the Minnesota Department of Health is expected to recommend to legislators that the new vaccine for the Human Papilloma Virus not be required for girls entering schools. The findings are a result of a report commissioned by the Minnesota State Legislature in 2007.

Health officials have said that though they highly recommend girls be vaccinated the drug is too new to be required for school admissions.

"We think it's going to turn out to be fine, but we don't want to mandate something until more of those studies have been done," said Dr. Edward Ehlinger, as quoted by the Pioneer Press. Doctor Ehlinger works on a state advisory board that deals with immunization practices.

The vaccine is said to block two common forms of HPV, which causes around 70 percent of all cervical cancers. The fact that HPV is passed through sexual activity has grabbed the attention of many conservative groups who fear that the vaccine will encourage young adults to have premarital sex.

Currently the United States has about 20 million diagnosed cases of HPV.


Trash Plagued Naples Now Faces Legal Action

The BBC reported Thursday that the European Union has given Italy a one month deadline to correct the growing waste management crisis in the city of Naples or face legal action. Piles of trash have been growing in the streets over the last few weeks, causing major health concerns from Naples residents as well as the residents of the southern Italian region of Campania.

“The situation in Campania is intolerable, and I fully understand the frustrations of residents who fear for their health,? said Stavros Dimas, European environment commissioner.

The European Union issued a warning to Italy that either they find a solution to the crisis within a month or they'll face legal action, in coordination with EU waste laws. The warning sent to Rome this week is the third such warning that Rome has received, the first being in June 2007, and a second later that year in October.

The New York Times estimates some 250,000 tons of trash has piled up on the streets of Naples since collectors stopped routine pick ups.