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October 31, 2008

Siblings Arrested; Andover Man Found Dead over Inheritance

A missing man from Andover, Minn., may have been killed by his own brother and sister over their grandmother’s inheritance, according to Anoka County authorities, the Star Tribune reported Friday.

Andrew T. Hawes, 36, of Robbisnsdale and Elizabeth M. Hawes, 43, of Minneapolis were arrested on charges of second-degree murder after they were caught trying to burn their brother’s remains in a fire pit in Cottonwood County, according to KARE 11’s report.

Lt. Paul Sommer said authorities believe the siblings thought Edwin Hawes, 46, the conservator of the inheritance, was not distributing the money fairly, the Star Tribune reported.

Last month Andrew Hawes was arrested for first-degree assault when he tried to run over Edwin Hawes, his brother, with his car in Minneapolis, Sommer told the Star Tribune.

Police also arrested Andrew Hawe’s friend, Kristina M. Dorniden, 29, in connection to the case, according to KSTP.

The remains have not been identified and no charges have been filed, according to KARE 11.

October 30, 2008

Charges Filed in Kercher Case

Relatives of Meredith Kercher, the murdered British exchange student, said they are “satisfied? that an Italian judge has convicted a man for her murder, the BBC reported.

In addition to convicting Rudy Guede, 21, Judge Paolo Micheli ruled Tuesday that there is significant evidence to officially charge Amanda Knox, a 21-year-old U.S. exchange student, and her former boyfriend Rafaelle Sollecito, 24, with Kercher’s murder, according to Newsweek.

Kercher was found dead and partially clothed in a house shared with other exchange students last year on Nov. 2.

Giuliano Mignini, the lead prosecutor, believes Kercher’s murder resulted from “a satanic-ritual-inspired orgy that went terribly wrong,? an idea Sollecito got from reading Japanese manga comics, Newsweek said.

Knox, who has been jailed since her arrest last Nov., initially told police she had heard Kercher’s screams from another room in the house they shared. Later, the Seattle native said she did not come home until the morning after the murder, according to the New York Times.

October 29, 2008

Body of Jennifer Hudson's Nephew Found

Police found the body of Jennifer Hudson’s 7-year-old nephew on Monday, three days after the young actress and singer’s mother and brother were found dead in their nearby home, according to the New York Times.

Julian King was found in Chicago’s West Side in an abandoned white Chevrolet Suburban that had belonged to Hudson’s brother, CNN reported. Julian died from “multiple gunshot wounds,? the article said.

The boy was the son of Jennifer Hudson’s sister, Julia Hudson, a FOX News report said.

Julia Hudson found the bodies of her mother, Darnell Donerson, and brother, Jason Hudson, shot to death in their home on Friday, according to police reported in the CNN article.

Julian’s stepfather, William Balfour, was detained Friday as a “person of interest? in connection with the slayings, the New York Times said.

No charges have been filed.

October 26, 2008

Missing Teens Found in Iowa

The two Missouri teenagers who disappeared during a football game last week were found in Council Bluffs, Iowa on Sunday afternoon, the Kansas City Star reported.

The Christina “Paige? Alley, 14, was the subject of an Amber Alert when she left the football game after the performing in the marching band’s halftime show with her boyfriend Levi Carlson, 16, according to KMBC.

The Amber Alert was called off Sunday about 4:30 p.m., police said to KCTV.

Alley and Carlson were found under an interstate overpass, Clinton County Police Department Major John Farmer said, according to the Kansas City Star.

KMBC reported that the two had been unharmed, sleeping in sleeping bags inside their car. The Kansas City Star said that the teenagers had only their sleeping bags with them, having left the car in Omaha.

All three reports agree that the teenagers’ parents left for Iowa to bring the two home.

Minnesota's Independence Party will not Endorse a Presidential Nominee

Minnesota’s Independence Party voted Saturday not to endorse a presidential candidate for the 2008 election.

The 70 delegates and 30 observers decided that none of the nominees entirely matched the party’s positions, state IP Chairman Craig Swaggert said according to the Star Tribune.

The party considered nominees from the Republican, Libertarian and Green parties, WCCO reported.

The Pioneer Press suggested that endorsing Republican nominee John McCain might have weakened Democratic voters’ appeal to the IP’s Senate candidate Dean Barkley.

Presidential nominee Barack Obama “shunned? the IP because he only wanted to be endorsed by the Democratic Party, Swaggert told the Pioneer Press.

October 25, 2008

In-the-Womb Surgery Gives “Miracle? Birth

The birth of twins suffering from Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome was called a “miracle? in a WCCO story.

Abbott Northwestern and Children’s Hospital doctors William Block and Brad Feltis performed an “experimental procedure? on the boys, who shared blood vessels and the placenta, which would have likely killed the twins otherwise, the Star Tribune said.

"Without the surgery, without any therapy at all, the loss rate for both babies approaches 80-90 percent so they wouldn't be here holding their babies," Block said to Kare11.

The doctors are the only ones in the Midwest to perform the operation for TTTS, which has previously had to recommend between 40 and 50 Minnesotan cases a year to Cincinnati or Seattle facilities to have the procedure done, according to WCCO.

The procedure, called fetoscopic laser ablation, involved inserting a very small scope into the mother’s abdomen in order to see inside her uterus where the doctors “cauterized? the connected blood vessels, WCCO said.

October 24, 2008

All-Electric MINI to be Released

BMW announced this week that drivers will soon be able to lease a “fleet? of 500 all-electric MINI E Coopers for $850 a month, CNN reported.

The cars will be available next year in California, New Jersey and New York as part of a plan to test the cars in the “real world? before trying to sell the car as a standard model at dealerships, a FOX News article said.

The MINI E can travel 150 miles before on a full charge, which requires the car to be plugged in at a standard outlet overnight, MSNBC said.

The car will also come with a high-amperage “wallbox? installed in the customer’s garage that can charge the vehicle in 2.5 hours, according to FOX News’ report.

One problem with the car is that the batter takes up the space that had been the back seat, making the MINI E a two-seater, MSNBC reported.

October 23, 2008

Chinese Dissenter Awarded Human Rights Prize

Hu Jia, a jailed Chinese activist for democracy and human rights in China, won the European Parliament’s highest human rights prize on Thursday.

The Sarkharov Prize for Freedom of Thought was awarded to Hu in spite of a warning from Beijing that his selection would harm Chinese relations with the European Union, the New York Times reported.

“The European Union is sending out a signal of clear support to all those who support human rights in China,? European Parliament President Hans-Gert Poettering said according to a BBC report.

Hu, an activist for environmental, AIDS and democratic rights in China, is serving a three and a half year jail term for inciting subversion of state power, the BBC said.

The New York Times described Hu as “a one-man clearinghouse of information on human rights abuses and other controversies that officials preferred to keep quiet.?

"The award of this richly deserved accolade to him shows that MEPs (members of the European Parliament) will not be silenced like so many Chinese dissidents have been,? foreign affairs spokesman for the British Conservatives in the EU assembly, Charles Tannock, said according to CNN.

October 19, 2008

Advance Analysis

The CNN article, “Bush to host world summit on financial crisis,? is an advance for the conference President Bush plans to host after the November elections for world leaders to talk about how to respond globally to the financial crisis.

The article specifically cites President George W. Bush, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, White House spokesman Tony Fratto and European President Jose Manuel Barroso.

The angle of the story is taken from the perspective of why the summit will be held: haste is needed to stabilize the global economy. The story goes from why the U.S. is holding the conference to what other countries around the world, such as Germany, Switzerland, Singapore and South Korea, are doing to prevent economic collapse.

This approach keeps the story from becoming more than just a listing of the conference Bush plans to hold because it provides a lot of information and background for why such a meeting is called for and how the crisis is affecting markets worldwide. The story fits into the worldwide context of what is happening with the global economy.

Kidnapped Boy Found Alive

The 6-year-old boy kidnapped from a Las Vegas home Wednesday has been found alive in the downtown Las Vegas area, police said early Sunday according to a Las Vegas Now news article.

Cole Puffinburger was abducted as a ransom when drug dealers couldn’t find the boy’s grandfather who owed millions of dollars to the dealers as part of a methamphetamine ring, police said in the Las Vegas Now report.

Clemens Tinnemeyer, who had not been seen since August, was found and arrested Friday in connection with Cole’s kidnapping, CNN said.

Police received a report that a young boy was walking by himself in a middle-class neighborhood about 5 miles from the Las Vegas Strip, Officer Jay Rivera of the Las Vegas Police said according to a Kansas City Star story.

Police gave no information on how Cole got there, only that “he is safe and in our custody,? according Las Vegas police Capt. Vincent Cannito in a CNN article.

“The remainder of the investigation now shifts, the focus now goes on to the drug dealing and potential extortion,? Cannito said.

October 18, 2008

KFAN Broadcaster Arrested for Drug Possession

KFAN Sports Radio broadcaster Jeff Dubay was arrested Wednesday, KMSP, WCCO and the Star Tribune all reported; the details of the arrest were accounted for in varying degrees within the three reports.

WCCO reported that the co-host of the KFAN “PA and Dubay? show was arrested on felony possession of methamphetamine.

The Star Tribune article said that police have not provided any details about what drug might be involved- only that Dubay was suspected of “fifth-degree possession of a controlled substance.?

The Star Tribune and WCCO reported that Dubay also covers Minnesota Gopher Hockey for Fox Sports Net.

KMSP, the local Fox News station published a 49-word story on the arrest, only stating that Dubay was arrested for felony possession of a controlled substance and “released with charges.?

Dubay has not been on KFAN or FSN North since Wednesday, the Star Tribune reported.

The radio talk show host took a leave of absence from KFAN over the summer for personal reasons, according to WCCO.

"I can't believe it. I've listened to PA and Dubay for 10 years since they been on the radio and I can't believe that he would do anything like that," said KFAN listener Larry Miller to WCCO-TV.

Grandfather Arrested in Kidnapping Case

Police arrested the grandfather of a kidnapped 6-year-old Las Vegas boy late Friday as “a person of interest? in the abduction, according to an ABC News report.

Cole Puffinburger was allegedly kidnapped Wednesday by police imposters who were involved in drug dealings with the boy’s grandfather, Clemons Fred Tennemeyer, 51, FOX News said.

CNN reported that officials “believe? that Cole was kidnapped as a message from drug dealers who Tennemayer may have stolen millions of dollars from in a drug dealing.

A nationwide Amber Alert for Cole was canceled Saturday without an explanation, according to the New York Times.

CNN reported that the alert was lifted because it had “run its course,? according to Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Capt. Vince Cannito.

Authorities described the suspects who posed as police officers as three Hispanic men, according to CNN.
Drug-related kidnappings are increasing around the Mexican border, according to authorities in the CNN article.

"Money is a huge factor, obviously. Drugs are a huge factor," Las Vegas police spokesman Chris Johnson said to FOX News. "The only innocent person involved in this entire operation is the boy."

October 17, 2008

Doctor Investigated in the Case of Counterfeit Casino Chips

Police are investigating a Roseville weight-loss physician for allegedly making and using counterfeit Mystic Lake Casino gambling chips, the Pioneer Press reported, citing a search warrant filed Wednesday.

An informant notified Minnesota’s Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division that Carol Straughan was making the chips at her clinic, Lighten Up with Dr. Carol, WCCO said, referencing the search warrant.

Investigators found video surveillance positively identifying Straughan as the person who inserted counterfeit chips into the high-stakes slots Oct. 8, jamming two machines, according to the Pioneer Press.

Police recovered copies of $100 chips and a coin printout among other things at Straughan’s office Friday, WCCO reported.

Straughan has not been charged.

October 16, 2008

Christians Flee Mosul after Violent Attacks

At least 3,000 Christians have fled the northern city of Mosul, Iraq the past week as a result of the violence directed at them, FOX News reported.

“The Christians were subjected to abduction attempts and paid ransom, but now they are subjected to a killing campaign," the governor of northern Iraq's Ninevah province, Duraid Mohammed Kashmoula said according to FOX News.

A New York Times article reported that authorities are not sure who is responsible for the attacks on Christians. Arab politicians have pointed to the Kurds, who in turn blame former Baathists and terrorists, according to the Times.

The FOX News article said that Islamic extremists have been targeting Christians since the 2003 invasion, causing in “tens of thousands? to flee Iraq.

Thirteen Christians have been killed the past two weeks as Muslim extremists have threatened to kill those who will not convert to Islam, Iraqi officials told CNN.

Three abandoned Christian homes in eastern Mosul were blown up Saturday, FOX News reported.

CNN, FOX News, and the New York Times all reported that the recent violence toward Christians may be a result of tension surrounding the upcoming provincial elections.

Christians in Mosul have lobbied to pass a law which would set aside seats in parliament for minorities, such as Christians.

October 12, 2008

Press Conference Analysis

In the Associated Press report, “Bush, Allies Seek to Calm Jittery Investors,? run by Business Week, the story used a press release by the White House to support the story.

The press release was simply the transcript of the speech given by President Bush to financial leaders from both developed and developing nations affected by the economic crisis.

The reporters used the quotes from the speech to advance and support their story that Bush is working with world leaders in an effort to “calm jittery investors.?

The article paraphrased much of his speech, saying, “Bush vowed anew that his administration was doing everything possible to halt the biggest market disruptions since the Great Depression,? and, “The president told the finance ministers that he was doing all he could to involve other countries in efforts to resolve the crisis.?

The report also used a quote from the end of his speech, “It doesn't matter if you're a rich country or a poor country, a developed country or a developing country -- we're all in this together," attributing the quote to Bush, according to Tony Fratto, the White House spokesman who released the report.

In addition to paraphrasing and quoting what the president said in his speech, the reporters also used quotes from a statement released by the IMF and World Bank to transition the story into the leaders’ response to Bush and the financial crisis.

The reporters chose not to make the story solely about Bush’s speech, but to use the speech as a launch to advance the story into the global situation and what other nations are doing to prevent “major financial institutions from falling.?

October 11, 2008

Chaska Boy Dies After Running at School

A 10-year-old boy died Friday after collapsing at Oak Point Intermediate’s run club.

Joshua Damptey collapsed at the after-school run club around 2:30 p.m. Friday, an email sent to parents said, according to the Eden Prairie News.

Joshua’s mother was able to meet her son at Hennepin County Medical Center a short time before he died, Kare 11 said.

Officials have not released the cause of Joshua’s death, the Star Tribune reported.

The neighbors and friends of the fifth-grader described him as “a ‘sweet’ boy, a Cub Scout and a big brother,? according to a Kare 11 report.

“To think that he’s so innocent and so sweet, I’m just in shock that this could happen to him,? Joshua’s babysitter, Jenna Benson, said to Kare 11.

October 10, 2008

McCain Tells Minnesota Supporters to be Respectful to Obama

Republican presidential candidate John McCain was booed in a Lakeville town hall meeting when he described Barack Obama as a “decent person and a person that you do not have to be scared of as president of the United States,? according to Kare 11.

One-third of the 21 questions directed at McCain challenged him to battle Obama more aggressively, the Star Tribune said.

“I will fight, but we will be respectful,? McCain said.

Voters expressed concerns that Obama would lead the nation into socialism. One man said “he did not want his unborn child raised in a country led by Obama,? Kare 11 reported.

McCain corrected one woman who called Obama “an Arab,? saying that was not true.

The Star Tribune noted that McCain continues to run “sharply negative ads against Obama,? even as he tried to reduce his supporters’ hostility toward the Democratic candidate.

Neither articles focused on what other topics were discussed at the rally.

Former President of Finland Recieves Nobel Peace Prize

Finland’s former President Martti Ahtisaari won the 2008 Noble Peace Prize on Friday for “his efforts to build a lasting peace form Africa and Asia to Europe and the Middle East,? according to FOX News.

Ahtisaari said he considers the 13 years spent helping Namibia transition from brutal conflict to independence to be the highlight of his career, according to a New York Times report.

The 71-year-old has worked to find peaceful solutions in Kosovo, Iraq, Northern Ireland, Central Asia and the Horn of Africa, CNN reported.

The president of the International Crisis Group, Gareth Evans, said Ahtisaari is “a brilliant negotiator and mediator, with a tremendously effective personal style that combines charm and good humor with an iron determination.?

Both Fox News and the New York Times noted that the committee’s selection of Ahtisaari reflected a transition back to traditional candidates after awarding the $1.4 million prize to Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change last year.

Woman Hunting Rats Causes School Lockdown

A North Carolina woman hunting rats caused a nearby public school a scare Friday, police according to an Associated Press story run by KRON.

A bus driver saw the armed woman who authorities thought was a student on school property, The Times-News of Hendersonville reported.

After an hour-long lockdown officials determined the woman was not on school property or a threat to the students.

Sheriff Rick Davis said that the response was handled excellently by the school staff in an ABC News article.

October 6, 2008

Using a Fan May Reduce Risk of SIDS

Circulating air with a fan may reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, researchers reported in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine on Monday.

The study of nearly 500 infants found that running a fan near a sleeping infant was associated with a 72 percent decrease in the risk of SIDS, according to ABC News.

Previous research has revealed that placing babies to sleep on their backs, firm mattresses and keeping pillows and toys out of the crib also prevents SIDS, a CBS News report said.

These findings have decreased the number of deaths resulting from SIDS by 56 percent in the last decade, the ABC article reported.

Doctors continue to search for the cause of the syndrome which results in the deaths of 2,500 babies a year.
The new study “seems to suggest that by improving room ventilation we can further reduce risk,? Dr. De-Kun Li of Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, Calif., said in ABC’s report.

October 5, 2008

Spot and Follow Analysis

Two Associated Press stories on piracy in Somalia run by FOX News two days in a row have many differences. The lead in the first-day story, “Russia Pledges to Join Battle Against Piracy as U.S. Warships Circle Kidnapped Vessel,? the lead begins talking about how Russia, the U.S., and the European Union are planning on working together to fight off piracy. In the second-day story, “U.S. Navy Says Surrounded Somali Pirates Attempt Four Attacks in 24 Hours,? the lead is focused on the new development of four additional attempted piracy attacks in the previous 24 hours.

In the first story, the news is summarized more generally on plans between the U.S. and EU. Also, the news is focused primarily on the hijacked Russian ship loaded with weapons, and the worries that its cargo was headed for terrorists.

The second story took the previous focus on piracy, and used readers' knowledge about the recent pirate attacks to alert readers to other attempts at piracy.

O.J. Simpson Found Guilty

O.J. Simpson may now spend the rest of his life in prison after being found guilty Friday on 12 charges, including robbery and kidnapping, according to CNN.

The jurors told attorneys they would be able to “set aside their feelings? about Simpson’s acquittal on murder charges for the death of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman, an MSNBC report said.

Simpson’s lawyer Yale Galanter said the verdict “was just payback? and that the jury members were “on an agenda? to make up for his acquittal in 1995, according to a FOX News report.

“In this case, justice delayed was not justice denied,? Gloria Allred, the attorney who represented Nicole Brown Simpson’s family said according to an ABC report.

The verdict was announced exactly 13 years after Simpson’s was found not guilty on charges of murder.

October 3, 2008

14 Minnesotans Sick from Salmonella

Fourteen recent cases of Salmonella have been connected to raw stuffed chicken entrees that Minnesotan consumers assume to be precooked, the Minnesota Health Department said Friday in a Pioneer Press report.

Milford Valley Farms Chicken Cordon Bleu and Chicken Kiev, the products associated with the poisoning, are sold at many grocery chains around the state, according to a Minnesota Public Radio article.

Although Milford Valley Farms said their products clearly inform consumers not to cook the chicken in a microwave or toaster oven, Dr. Heidi Kassenborg of the state Health Department said people may not have realized that the chicken was raw, the MPR reported.

Salmonella symptoms include diarrhea, fever, loss of appetite, nausea and cramps, lasting about five to seven days, according to a WebMD article.

About 20 percent of salmonella cases send people to the hospital, KARE 11 reported.

October 1, 2008

Police Recovered Hundreds of Stolen Wallets, Purses from White Bear Lake Home

Police recovered hundreds of stolen purses and wallets during the raid of a White Bear Lake home Wednesday.

The items are believed to be the returns of a theft operation extended throughout the Metro and western Wisconsin, the Pioneer Press reported.

“This is an ongoing criminal investigation into financial crimes and some property crimes,? White Bear Lake Police Cpt. John Swenson said to KSTP.

Police conducted the search after being informed that there were narcotics at the 1556 5th Street home, according to KSTP’s report.

Tara Lynne Lee, 35, was arrested along with a man police did not identify, charged with narcotics violations, according to the Pioneer Press.

Pirates Continue Possession of Ukrainian Ship

Nearly a week after pirates seized the Ukrainian ship loaded with tanks and weapons, the Faina remains anchored off the coast of Somalia under pirate control, ABC News reported.

Some worry that the Somali pirates could support terrorist networks internationally.

According to a Chatham House report, the money collected in pirate ransoms is already funding the war in Somalia along with Al-Shabaab, a group listed as a terrorist organization by the US.

With 16,000 ships estimated to pass through the Gulf of Aden a year, changing routes would escalate the cost of shipping, adding weeks to ship goods as well as using more fuel, CNN said.

The group took over the ship “to stop illegal fishing and dumping,? the pirates’ spokesman Sugule Ali said Tuesday in an interview with New York Times.

“We are simply patrolling our seas. Think of us like a coast guard,? Sugule said.