This news blog is an educational exercise involving students ath the University of Minnesota. It is not intended to be a source of news.

March 2013 Archives

Analysis: News Obituary

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Source: The Washington Post

Phil Ramone, a Grammy Award-winning engineer, arranger and producer, died Saturday at the the age of 79. For the most part his obituary, written by the Associated Press, follows a standard format. It establishes the importance of the person's life, listing his major accomplishes and what made him who he was.

The article uses a number of different sources to establish a summary of Ramone's life. His family provided information on how and when he died, while the people he once worked with gave insight into his talents as a musician. The obituary also uses Ramone's own words to supplement information provided by other people. For instance, the writer cites Ramone's memoir for his recollection of working with a particular author. Doing this lets the person's actual voice come out in his obituary.

The lead of the obituary is relatively standard. It tells us who died, what he did in life and touching on when and how he died. It ends with a second short sentence telling us his age.

The news value of the obituary is that Ramone was influential and respected in his field of work. He worked with famous celebrities and musicians, and his death gives the world a chance to look back on his life's achievements.

An obituary differs from a resume markedly. Obviously since the person is dead, he can't use the information in his obituary to land a job. Instead, the obituary is supposed to honor the person's life, rather than advance like a resume does.

2 fraudsters escape from Duluth Prison

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Two multimillion-dollar fraudsters have escaped from a federal prison near Duluth, news sources report.

Authorities discovered Michael Krzyzaniak, 64, and Gerald Greenfield, 67, missing from the facility around 10 p.m. Saturday after a regularly scheduled prisoner count, the Star Tribune reports.

The low-security prison camp they were being held in has no perimeter walls and holds its inmates on an honor system, according to the Star Tribune. While many freedoms are lost during imprisonment, the camp offers many amenities, including a gym, movie theater, and sleeping quarters that resemble a college dorm.

The prison's most notable inmate of late was disgraced auto mogul Denny Heckler, who started serving his prison term there in 2011 before being shuffled between multiple federal prisons, according to the Star Tribune.

Krzyzaniak was serving a 12-year sentence for defrauding investors out of nearly $26 million and Greenfield was serving four years for conspiracy to commit money laundering in a $2.5 million scheme and was scheduled to be released in November 2015, the Pioneer Press reports. Krzyzaniak sentence wasn't going to end until April 2022.

The search for the escapees is being carried out by the U.S. Marshal Service, according to the Pioneer Press.

Minnesota Zoo to see major expansion

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The Minnesota Zoo is preparing to launch a major expansion, news sources report.

The plan to continue the zoo's shift from its original focus on conservation and education to a family entertainment venture, will cost hundreds and millions of dollars, and will include adding a new African trail with lions, giraffes and hippos, the Star Tribune reports.

The planned expansion is meant to deliver on the original dream of the Minnesota Zoo's founders and finally deliver the bread and butter zoo species people expect to see in a major zoo, Zoo director Lee Ehmke told the Star Tribune.

The plan also calls for converting the Northern Trail to an Asian themed, an events center overlooking a domed orangutan forest, elevated zip lines and new restaurants.

The first phase of the project will cost an estimated $50 million, according to the Star Tribune. The price of the expansion is to be covered by a mix of private donations, state aid, and increased admission fees.

Young farm animals, including chicks, piglets, lambs, calves, goat kids, bunnies and ducklings, debuted at the Minnesota Zoo this weekend, according to CBS. The Farm Babies exhibit will be open from March 31 through April 30.

Hunger strike grows at Guantanamon Bay

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A growing hunger strike among Guantanamo Bay detainees has drawn the concern from The International Committee of the Red Cross, news sources report.

The organisation, which is empowered under the Geneva Conventions to check on the treatment of prisoners of war, said that it sent a delegation to the U.S. military prison, where more than 30 inmates are said to be on a hunger strike, Al Jazeera reports.

The group of one doctor and another member of the Geneva-based humanitarian organisation arrived a week earlier than planned due to the rising tensions at the base, according to the BBC.

Pentagon spokesman Maj Jeff Pool reported Tuesday that 31 of 166 detainees held at the facility in Cuba are refusing food, up from 21 last week, the BBC reports.

The inmates are protesting what they see as a failure by the U.S. to resolve their fate, according to the BBC. Many detainees at Guantanamo Bay are being held on indefinite detention without charge.

News of the intensifying hunger strike were accompanied by complaints from some detainees that they are being denied access to drinking water and are being exposed to "extremely frigid" temperatures, Al Jazeera reports.

Retired Gen. David Petraeus apologizes for affair

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Former CIA director David Petraeus apologized for an extramarital affair that ended his career lat November, news sources report.

Petraeuse acknowledged the toll the affair took on his family, career and reputation at an event honoring University of Southern California veterans and Reserve Officers' Training Corps students Tuesday, Al Jazeera reports.

It was his first public speech since his affair with writer Paula Broadwell was revealed, tainting the career of the former four-star general who commanded U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, ABC reports.

Petraeus had addressed the affair only one other time in a statement he made the day he resigned as CIA director. He had confessed showing "extremely poor judgement" in his actions, according to ABC.

Before the discovery of the sex scandal, Petraeus had been widely seen as the top American military leaders of his generation and was credited with bringing Iraq from the brink of civil war before President Obama turned to him to lead U.S. forces in Afghanistan before putting him in charge of the CIA in 2011, according to Al Jazeera.

Petraeus said Tuesday that he could never fully heal the pain he had caused with the scandal, but thanked his family for words of encouragement during the difficult time for them, ABC reports.

Petraeus received standing ovations before and after his speech, which mostly focused on the difficulties veterans and their families face transitioning from military to civilian life, Al Jazeera reports.

North Korea Renews War Threats

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North Korea has repeated its threats to wage war against South Korea and the United States, news sources report.

The isolated communist state said that conditions "for a simmering nuclear war" exist on the Korean Peninsula, and that it will inform the UN Security Council of its claims that the U.S. and South Korea are behind the tensions, Al Jazeera reports.

North Korea;s military said it put its forces on high alert earlier Tuesday, ordering its missile and artillery units to be ready to strike South Korea, and U.S. military installations in Hawaii and Guam, the New York Times reports. The country's young leader, Kim Jong-Un, has also been shown making a number of visits to military units in the last week.

Korea expert Leonid Petrove of Sydney's Australian National University said in an interview with Al Jazeera, that the North's "attention-seeking behavior" is responding to international pressure and is an attempt to unite the county behind its leader. He also said that the North is limited in its ability to target the U.S.

Tensions between the two Korea's have risen since North Korea launched a three-stage rocket in December and tested a nuclear weapon in February, according to the New York Times. In response, Washington and Seoul pushed for greater sanction on North Korea and began their annual joint military drills this month.

Water Line Break Closes Duluth Hotel

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A hotel in downtown Duluth was closed after a water line broke and flooded parts of the hotel's basement, news sources report.

Duluth's Radisson Hotel could remain dark through the weekend after the water flooded the building and forced the evacuation of its 80 guests, the Duluth News Tribune reports. They were relocated to the Holiday Inn and the Sheraton downtown.

The break happened Wednesday night and flooded the skywalk tunnel under the street leading to the Duluth Public Library, KTSP reports. The tunnel, flooded with 6 inches to a foot deep in water, remained closed late Thursday, according to the Duluth News Tribune.

Officials said a private contractor severed the line while working under Superior Street, KSTP reports. Firefighters responded to the flooding and crews were on the scene cleaning the mess of dislodged bricks and gravel Thursday morning, the Duluth News Tribune reports.

Alleged Ohio Rape Victim Testifies

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A teenage girl at the center of a high school rape case, testified before a judge Saturday that she had no memory of the time frame in which the assault supposedly took place, news sources report.

The girl testified that she left a party around midnight on Aug. 11 with Trent Mays, 17, and Ma'lik Richmond, 16. She woke up the next morning naked in the basement of a house, with no recollection of where she was or how she got there, the New York Times reports. She said she later pieced together what had happened when friend showed her a YouTube video and a picture that had circulated of her lying naked in the basement.

She was the final witness in the speedy trial. A judge is expected to hand down his decision Sunday, according to CNN. If convicted of the juvenile charges, Mays and Richmond could be jailed until they are 21.

Three teens, all friends of the co-defendants, testified Friday that they saw Mays and Richmond interact sexually with the girl, CNN reports. In earlier testimony, teens who attended the party gave mixed testified on how drunk and coherent the girl had been the night of the alleged assault.

Prosecutors say the 16-year-old girl was raped by two high school football stars last August, the New York Times reports. The case has shaken the town of Steubenville, deeply dividing its citizens between residents who have complained about how local culture protects the Steubenville High School football team and those how claim the episode with the girl has been blown out of proportion.

Iran challenges U.S. drone over Persian Gulf

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An Iranian fighter jet reportedly targeted an unmanned U.S. Predator drone over the Persian Gulf this week, news sources report.

The F-4 plane came as close as 16 miles to the drone, but broke off pursuit after the pilot of a U.S. escort plane warned the Iranian craft to depart, the Huffington Post reports.

No shots were fired in the incident, though earlier reports had suggested the U.S. war plane fired a flair to warn the Iranian pilot, according to the Huffington Post.

The drone was conducting routine classified surveillance over international waters. It and the two U.S. aircraft escorting it never entered Iranian airspace, CNN reports.

Iran has a history of challenging U.S. surveillance efforts in the region, CNN reports. In December 2011, a sensitive U.S. Sentinel drone was captured by Iran after it crashed while gathering intelligence on the Islamic Republic's nuclear program. In November, a Predator was fired on by an Iranian warplane.

Obama administration officials told CNN that it is concerned these Iranian actions could unintentionally trigger a conflict in the Persian Gulf.

Pope Francis warns of need for spiritual renewal

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The Catholic Church's newly elected leader warned his followers that the church could become "a compassionate NGO" without spiritual renewal, news sources report.

"If we do not confess to Christ, what would we be?" Pope Francis said in a Sistine Chapel Mass with cardinals on his first day as the Church leader Thursday, the BBC reports.

"We would end up a compassionate NGO. What would happen would be like when children make sand castles and then it all falls down."

The 76-year-old Argentinean was elected pope Wednesday, Al Jazeera reports. He is the first Latin American pope, and the first Jesuit priest to hold the position.

Known for his reputation for humility, Francis also warned the assembled cardinals against "the worldliness of the devil," Al Jazeera reports, and, in a further sign of his humble nature, asked them to bless him before he would bless them, according to the BBC.

Formerly known as Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis began his reign Thursday by meeting people in Rome and laying flowers in homage to the Virgin Mary in a basilica, Al Jazeera reports. He also prayed at the alter of St Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit order to which Francis belongs.

The son-in-law of Osama bin Laden pleaded not guilty in federal court Friday morning in Manhattan to charges of conspiring to kill Americans, news sources report.

Sulaiman Abu Ghaith was taken into custody by federal authorities on Feb. 28 after being arrested in Jordan, the New York Times reports. He is charged with conspiring to kill Americans and creating Al Qaeda propaganda videos, according to CBS.

Abu Ghaith is believed to have been a strategic player in bin Laden's inner circle, according to CBS. Intelligence officials believe he may be able to shed new light on the terrorist organization's inner workings, though will probably not know about ongoing terror threats.

In his propaganda videos, Abu Ghaith urged others to swear allegiance to bin Laden, and warned of further attacks after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the New York Times reports.

Abu Ghaith will be the highest-ranking al Qaeda figure to stand trial in the U.S. since 9/11, according to CBS. Republicans are criticizing the Obama administration for bringing Abu Ghaith to New York instead of detaining him at the military detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba where he would have fewer legal rights.

Born in Kuwait, Abu Ghaith was an imam at a Kuwaiti mosque before he headed for Afghanistan. There he married bin Laden's eldest daughter, Fatima, according to CBS.

State Warns Against Using TurboTax

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The state of Minnesota is advising individual and business taxpayers not to use a line of electronic tax preparations services, including the popular TurboTax, because of "multiple issues" with them, news sources report.

Terri Steenblock, an assistant commissioner for the Minnesota Department of Revenue cited issues with the programs that have caused them to fail to record filing information in recent weeks, the Star Tribune reports.

The software company Intuit discovered the problems with some of their products, including TurboTax, Lacerte, Intuit online, and ProSeries, Kare11 reports. Intuit spokeswoman Julie Miller said the company is working with the state to fix the problems caused by human error in the coding, the Star Tribune reports.

Last year, 25 million U.S. taxpayers purchased Intuit programs, according to Star Tribune. So far, the problems have only been reported in Minnesota, Kare 11 reports.

The development comes little more than a month before Minnesota's income tax filing, the Star Tribune reports.

Minneapolis Police Standoff With Armed Man Ends

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A Minneapolis man is in police custody after a nine hour standoff in north Minneapolis ended Friday, news sources report.

Police were called to the 3800 block of Aldrich Avenue North after a man stepped outside of a house and fired one round from a gun into the air, CBS reports.

When police arrived around 11:30 a.m. the man had reentered the house, the Star Tribune reports. Negotiators attempted to get in contact with the man, who was believed to be alone.

Police set up a perimeter around the property, CBS reports and cordoned off the area between 37th to 41st Avenue N. and Aldrich to Colfax Avenues N. for much of the day, the Star Tribune reports.

Multiple rounds of tear gas were fired into the residence, according to CBS, and police eventually used a remote-controlled Bobcat loader to tear down one of the house's walls.

The man tried to flee through the wall, but was subdued and arrested around 8:45 p.m. CBS reports. He was unarmed at the time of the arrest.

Miyamoto Addresses Wii U's Interface Shortcomings

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Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto discussed the shortcomings of the company's new Wii U game console in an interview with Time, and promised that the system's user interface would be improved.

Miyamoto addressed user complaints regarding the interface, according to Game Informer.

Game Informer pointed out a number of highlights from the interview, including that there will be a system update by summer that will make the Wii U "very much improved over how it's performing currently."

In the Time interview, Miyamoto praised the new types of games that can be created using the Wii U's touch screen GamePad, citing its use as an additional screen, and bringing together TV and computer functionalities.

Wii U sales have been sluggish since the system's launch in Nov. 2012. Nintendo President Satoru Iwata took personal responsibility for the slow sales, and declared a 100 billion yen profit goal for the next year, according to Game Informer.

The European Commission fined Microsoft the equivalent of $732 million Wednesday for failing to live up to an agreement to provide consumers a choice of Internet browsers, news sources report.

The fine is the first time EU regulators have punished a company for neglecting to comply with the terms of an antitrust settlement, according to the New York Times. It could signal their determination to enforce deals in other cases, including one being discussed with Google.

Microsoft had agreed in a 2009 settlement to pay 860 million Euros and promise to give Windows users an option in choosing their browser rather than having the company's Internet Explorer automatically installed, according to an Associated Press article appearing in the Star Tribune.

An EU investigation found that Microsoft had failed to honor the agreement in software issued between May 2011 and July 2012, effecting 15 million users, Reuters reports.

The commission's top regulator, Joaquin Almunia, stressed the importance of negotiated settlements in enforcing laws that protect competition, the New York Times reports.

This new fine tops a long and bitter relationship between Microsoft and the EU's powerful antitrust authority, which has now issued fines totaling 2.16 billion Euros against the U.S. computer giant, Reuters reports.

Microsoft has taken full responsibility for the error that caused the problem, the company said in a statement. Although it has appealed many past rulings against it, Microsoft might be reluctant to do so this time in order to focus on its rivalry with Google. Microsoft has complained to Almunia about the internet company's business practices, the New York Times reports.

Private space company, SpaceX has succeeded in docking one of its Dragon cargo capsule at the International Space Station Sunday.

The successful docking came after a temporary technical glitch nearly ended the mission Friday, shortly after the spaceship blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, according to Reuters.

The space station's robotic claw captured the unmanned transport at 5:31 a.m. ET, CNN reported NASA as reporting.

The Dragon capsule is carrying more than 2,300 pounds of supplies for the station's crew and their experiments, NBC reports. It is the second of 12 resupply flights to be conducted under NASA's $1.6 million deal with SpaceX , after the company was contracted to fill the gap left by the space shuttle fleet's retirement in 2011.

SpaceX is the first private company to fly to the station, according to Reuters. Its Dragon capsule is the only current station freighter that makes return trips.

Development of LucasArt's next major Star Wars video game might have been put on hold, news sources report

Three unrelated sources intimate with the game's development told Kotaku that the game, codenamed Star Wars 1313, has had work on it frozen since Disney acquired LucasArts from founder George Lucas last fall.

The game made a successful showing at the Electron Entertainment Expo (E3) in 2012, according to IGN, but not much of it has been seen since.

LucasArts refused to comment on the project when contacted by Kotaku, other than to assure them that 1313 has not been cancelled.

The game was allegedly originally conceived as a tie-in for a planned live-action Star Wars TV show, but after that project was put on hold, the concept for the game was re-written, the unnamed sources told Kotaku.

The Disney purchase of LucasArts is said to have realigned the company's gaming division to focus on the new trilogy of Star Wars, Kotaku reports.

1313 had been rumored to be coming to current generation consoles, but if the delay is true, it might mean the game is being realigned for a launch on next-gen systems, according to IGN.

If this is the case, it Disney and LucasArts might be waiting to take full advantage of the technology of next generation hardware to make the most of the game's reportedly amazing graphics, according to IGN.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from March 2013 listed from newest to oldest.

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