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

February 2013 Archives

Best Buy cuts 400 jobs

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Best Buy cut 400 jobs, mostly in Minnesota, on Tuesday in its first phase of a $725 million cost-cutting program announced last fall, MPR News reported.

The layoffs primarily hit jobs at the Richfield corporate headquarters, avoiding sales staff or store closings, The Pioneer Press reported.

While layoffs usually raise a company's stock price, Best Buy's share fell almost 5 percent after the announcement, MPR News reported.

Best Buy said this was just the first step in their initiative to cut costs throughout 2013, Minn Post reported.

Best Buy said it will announce more details about its cost-cutting plan when it announces its third-quarter financial results on Thursday, Minn Post reported.

Hot air balloon crashes in Egypt, killing at least 19

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A hot air balloon crashed into a Luxor sugar cane field on Tuesday, killing at least 19 tourists, BBC News reported.

The balloon was 1,000 ft high, carrying more than 20 tourists when it exploded, BBC News reported.

The victims included French, British, Belgian, Hungarian, Japanese citizens and nine tourists from Hong Kong, Luxor Governor Ezzat Saad said as reported by The Star Tribune.

The explosion started during the balloon's landing, in which a landing cable got caught around a helium tube and combusted, an investigator said as reported by The Star Tribune.

The Egyptian pilot and one Briton survived the crash, The Star Tribune reported.

Thomas Cook travel company said it owned the balloon and that the accident was a "terrible tragedy", BBC News reported.


Analysis 4: Follow/spot diamond heist

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CNN's report on the Brussels airport diamond heist was updated after Monday. It was last updated on Wednesday morning.

The lead of the updated article is less breaking and more scene-setting. It starts, "Night had fallen. Some 20 airplane passengers had taken their seats for the short hop from Brussels, Belgium, to Zurich, Switzerland," It sets the scene instead of just summarizing the events.

The updated article gets more into the main news, adding details such as the robbery only taking three minutes.

The second story advances the news by adding a more detailed account of the event.

Maplewood driver dead in single-vehicle crash

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A man was killed Sunday in a single-vehicle accident on Highway 61, Minnesota State Patrol said according to CBS Minnesota

David J. James, 35, crashed around 11 p.m. when his 2002 GMC Yukon swayed off southbound Minnesota 61, nicked a guardrail and ran into a concrete pillar, The Pioneer Press reported.

Authorities pronounced James dead at the scene, CBS Minnesota reported.

Weather conditions were dry at the time of the crash and no one else was injured, Minnesota State Patrol said as reported by The Pioneer Press.

Sony announces Playstation 4

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Sony announced the Playstation 4 at a live streamed a special event in New York on Wednesday, CNN reported.

The PS4, Sony's first major console release in seven years, was described by Sony as a "supercharged PC" with enhanced graphics and multitasking, The New York Times reported.

The console was never shown during the presentation, but Sony debuted a new slimmer controller design, The New York Times reported.

Fans were split in response towards Sony's focus on using the PS4 as a new social platform, flocking to Twitter to comment on the risk of privacy invasion and a lack of focus for what was traditionally a gaming-focused device, CNN reported.

The new system will focus more on downloadable content instead of traditional in-store games, The New York Times reported.

"The next generation doesn't start until we say it does," Kazuo Hirai, Sony's new chief executive, said as reported by The New York Times.

Donations poured in for a homeless man after he returned a woman's diamond ring, CNN reported.

Sarah Darling lost her diamond ring when she emptied change into the man's collection cup after a slight skin irritation made her remove it, CNN reported.

When Darling realized she had lost her ring the next day, she returned to the man, Billy Ray Harris, and he returned it immediately, CNN reported.

"My grandfather was a reverend. He raised me from the time I was 6 months old, and thank the good lord. It's a blessing, but I do still have some character," Harris said as reported by New York Daily News.

Darling and her husband, Bill Krejci, started an online fundraising campaign in response to Harris's generosity, New York Daily News reported.

"My feeling is that he's not going to go out and do something stupid with the money," Kreijci said as reported by New York Daily News. "He's just a really cool guy, and I'm hoping this will give him a better foundation."

The campaign has raised $95 thousand so far, and the 90-day donation period is not yet finished, CNN reported.

In response to the outpour of donations, Harris said as reported by CNN, "I like it, but I don't think I deserve it. What I actually feel is, 'what has the world come to when a person who returns something that doesn't belong to him and all this happens?"

$50 million in diamonds stolen from Brussels Airport

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Eight robbers, disguised as police and armed with automatic weapons, stole $50 million in diamonds from Brussels Airport Monday evening, The New York Times reported.

The eight masked men stole diamond loaded from a Brink's armored van from Antwerp, Belgium from Flight LX789 around 8 p.m., 20 minutes before takeoff, and then fled the scene, The New York Times reported.

The men drove through the Brussel Airport's perimeter fence dressed as police officers and were armed with automatic weapons, CNN reported.

The robbers took the diamonds in the small gap between the time of loading the valuables to the time of takeoff, Caroline De Wolf, Antwerp World Diamond Centre spokeswoman, said as reported by The New York Times.

No one was hurt in the incident, although the pilot, co-pilot, and a transport security guard were threatened at gunpoint, CNN reported.

Ine Van Wymersch of the Public Prosecutor's Office in Brussels, said the robbery was "very precise, almost military-organized," and said the robbers were "professionals," CNN reported.


Fire damages Minneapolis recycling company building

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A fire significantly damaged a Minneapolis recycling facility Tuesday morning, CBS Minnesota reported.

Scrappy's Northern Metal Recycling on the 1800 block of 2nd Street North caught fire and crews responded at about 1:10 a.m, CBS Minnesota reported.

Northern Metal was empty when crews arrived, The Star Tribune reported.

Residents of a nearby apartment had to evacuate as a precaution while firefighters worked, CBS Minnesota reported.

Firefighters started fighting the fire inside the building, but had to retreat back outside as the fire spread, The Star Tribune reported.

By 7 a.m. the fire subsided and residents were let back into the nearby apartment, The Star Tribune reported.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, CBS Minnesota reported.

Cedar, Minn. resident dies in highway crash

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A Cedar, Minn. resident died Sunday in a crash on I-29 in Traill County, the north Dakota Highway Patrol said as reported by The Pioneer Press.

Dennis Lee Johnson, 63, was killed after slippery roads made his 1999 Ford Explorer went into the highway's median at 3 p.m., police said as reported by Grand Forks Herald.

Johnson was ejected out of his vehicle and was not wearing a seat belt, The Pioneer Press reported.

Johnson hit a 2013 Volvo semi-tractor containing Kevin Fogerty, 43, before driving into the median, Grand Forks Herald reported.

Fogerty was not injured, Grand Forks Herald reported.

Analysis 3: Lady Gaga story structure

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The CNN story, "Lady Gaga cancels tour, will have hip surgery", has a basic news report structure.

It starts with a lead that summarizes the basic story, including the fact that she has cancelled the rest of her tour and the reason why--her hip injury.

The second paragraph ads detail about the injury and a statement from a tour operator about why she has to cancel the rest of her tour.

Statements from Gaga's twitter follow the basic facts to give her point of view on the situation.

The story concludes telling fans how they can get refunded.

The structure displays the effective use of a basic inverted pyramid structure. The most important information is given first, followed by more specific and less crucial information. This is the best way to report this announcement in my opinion.

Lady Gaga cancels rest of tour for hip surgery

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Lady Gaga cancelled the rest of her "Born This Way Ball" tour dates for surgery to repair a tear in her hip, Live Nation announced Wednesday as reported by CNN.

Gaga suffered from synovitis, a severe joint inflammation, which left her unable to walk following Monday's concert in Montreal, the singer tweeted as reported by The Star Tribune.

"I've been hiding a show injury and a chronic pain for sometime now," Gaga said on Twitter as reported by The Star Tribune. "Over the last month it has worsened."

Strenuous repetitive movements caused the labral tear of the right hip, the tour operator said as reported by CNN.

"She will need surgery to repair the problem, followed by strict down time to recover," a statement said as reported by CNN.

Live Nation will provide refunds for canceled performances starting Thursday, CNN reported.

New Ulm doctor accused of stealing drugs

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A New Ulm doctor was accused Friday of stealing prescription pain medication from one of his patients at an assisted living facility, The Pioneer Press reported.

Dr. David Christopher Miller, 59, was charged with theft and possession of a controlled substance by a criminal complaint filed in Brown County, The Star Tribune reported.

Miller visited a vulnerable patient frequently in order to take prescribed Oxycontin and Percocet, the complaint said as reported by The Star Tribune.

Miller had been replacing the patient's medication with acetaminophen, staff said as reported by The Pioneer Press.

Police confronted Miller, finding 56 Oxycontin tablets in his possession and hearing him admit to consuming three, KTOE reported according to the Pioneer Press.

Illonois passes same-sex marriage

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A measure to legalize same-sex marriage was passed 34-21 by Illinois Senate Thursday, CNN reported.

The measure brings the state closer to legalizing gay marriage and the majority vote is unexpected, The New York Times reported.

If gay marriage were legalized in Illinois, it would be the 10th state, plus the District of Columbia, in the United States to do so, according to Lambda Legal as reported by CNN.

"it wasn't too long ago that people did not think they would see this day," State Representative Greg Harris said as reported by The New York Times.

Two years ago Illinois passed civil union legislation, The New York Times reported.

Four other states have civil union laws -- Hawaii, Delaware, New Jersey, and Rhode Island, according to Lambda Legal and the National Conference of State Legislatures as reported by CNN.

Man jailed in killing of 9-year-old Oakdale boy

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A man was jailed Tuesday after being accused of randomly shooting at a passing vehicle, killing a 9-year-old boy and wounding two other people, The Star Tribune reported.

Nhan Lap Tran, 34, war arrested in connection with suspicion of second-degree murder and second-degree assault causing great bodily harm with a firearm, CBS Minnesota reported.

Tran was arrested after shooting at two vehicles Monday at 6:10 p.m. around Hadley Avenue N. and 7th Street N., police said. One of the vehicles, a minivan, carried a fourth-grader at Oakdale Elementary School and his mother. The other contained a 68-year-old woman who was wounded, The Star Tribune reported.

Patty Phillips, superintendent for the North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale School District, released a statement to Oakdale Elementary School that staff is working to keep the school safe, The Star Triune reported.

The 911 call came from Jeremy Gulbrason, a man who lives near where the shooting took place, CBS Minnesota reported.

Tran does not have criminal records and has not been formally charged in the incident, CBS Minnesota reported.

Pope Benedict resigns

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Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation Monday, becoming the first pope to do so in almost 600 years, CNN reported.

Benedict, 85, said he is stepping down "because of advanced age", noting that he no longer has the energy to "adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to [him]," according to the Vatican as reported by CNN.

Benedict made the announcement in Latin on Monday morning during a meeting of Vatican cardinals, The Associated Press reported.

Benedict will devote the rest of his life to prayer and reflection in a monastery. He will not be involved in the church's decision of his successor, CNN reported.

According to NPR's Sylvia Poggioli, the pope had been planning on stepping down for some time.

The last pope to resign, Pope Gregory XII, did so in 1415, NPR reported.

CNN's article, "5 dead after powerful quake strikes in South Pacific", includes four named sources: Augustine Bilve (director at a hospital in Lata), Andrew Catford (program director for World Vision), humanitarian group World Vision, and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

It also includes warnings from The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, The New Zealand Ministry of Civil Defense and Emergency Management, Japanese authorities, and The New Caledonia High Commission that can be credited to public record.

The sources are fairly clustered together. The article moves from one source to the next without returning to a previous source once its section has finished.

A lot of the earlier statements about the tsunami come from people or named organizations, but the later information about various warnings comes from public record.

The reporter provides attribution using "said" clauses. The choice is invisible and effective.

Analysis 1: Leads

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The Pioneer Press wrote the following lead:

"Last year's emotional campaign over a proposed Minnesota gay marriage ban cost the two main competing groups a combined $18 million, according to campaign finance reports released Friday."

The lead includes a detailed What and a general Who. The When and Where are clearly stated.

The focus of the lead is the amount spent by the competing campaigns in the gay marriage ban, not the campaigns themselves. Thus, it details the "emotional campaign over a proposed Minnesota gay marriage ban" and the specific cost of $18 million in the lead.

The article does go on to mention the specific campaigns and even quote them, but this isn't until further down in the inverted pyramid model.

Water main rupture floods downtown St. Paul

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A water line ruptured in St. Paul early Saturday, flooding eight to 10 square blocks downtown, The Star Tribune reported.

The 20-inch main broke around 12:30 a.m. on Wall St., between 5th and 6th Streets, Rick Larkin, St. Paul's director of emergency management, said as reported by The Star Tribune.

The 61-year-old main break, which released an estimated 1.75 million gallons of water before utility crews isolated it around 3 a.m., could have altered the quality of the area's tap water, The Pioneer Press reported.

Aside from the destroyed streets, there was not much structural damage to the apartments and office buildings surrounding the break, Larkin said as reported by The Star Tribune.

The cause of the break is not yet known, but Production Distribution Manager Jim Graupmann said it was probably due to corrosion or a manufacturing defect, The Pioneer Press reported.

City council member Dave Thune strictly advised citizens not to drink the tap water at this time because the drop in water pressure from the break could allow bacteria to enter the water, The Pioneer Press reported.

iTunes hits 25 billion songs downloaded

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iTunes' 25 billionth song has been downloaded, Apple announced Wednesday as reported by The Washington Post.

Phillip Lüpke, a German user, downloaded "Monkey Drums (Goksel Vancin Remix)" by popular British DJ Chase Buch. Apple will send him a 10,000-Euro iTunes giftcard, CNN reported.

iTunes took a decade to reach this benchmark. Since the store's 2003 debut, Apple now sees about 15 thousand song downloads per minute, The Washington Post reported.

iTunes' last benchmark was its 10 billionth song download in 2010, CNN reported.

Alex Ostravsky, who purchased iTunes' billionth song in 2006, received from Apple a 20-inch iMac, 10 fifth generation iPods, a $10 thousand iTunes giftcard, and a scholarship for his studies at The Juilliard School of Music, CNN reported.

Apple's App Store recently announced its 400 billionth download, The Washington Post reported.

Tsunami hits Solomon Islands killing 5

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A tsunami, triggered by an 8.0-magnitude South Pacific earthquake, killed five Solomon Islands people Wednesday, CNN reported.

The 1-meter tsunami hit Lata of the Santa Cruz Islands, killing four elderly people and one child, CNN reported.

At least 100 Lata houses were destroyed. The tsunami also caused an outage of water and electricity in the Solmon Islands's Temoto Province capitol, Christian humanitarian organization World Vision said as reported by The New York Times.

Most of Lata's residence fled to higher ground because of a tsunami warning, which included several surrounding islands, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said as reported by The New York Times.

The U.S. Geological Survey reported the tsunami's causing earthquake was 17.8 miles deep and occurred near the Santa Cruz Islands, CNN reported.

A Minneapolis teenager was sentenced to 28 years in prison on Tuesday for the murder of a 5-year-old Nizzel George, who had been shot in the crossfire of a gang-related shooting, The Pioneer Press reported.

Stephon Shannon, 17, received his sentence just one day after President Obama spoke about the shooting in a Minneapolis police facility as part of an effort for new gun control legislation, The Start Tribune reported.

Shannon pleaded guilty to second-degree intentional murder for the benefit of a gang earlier, The Pioneer Press reported.

George was shot inside his grandmother's house last June when a bullet tore through the couch and hit him in the back, The Pioneer Press reported.

George was the second child to be killed in such an event in the past six months. The other killing was of Terrell Mayes Jr., 3, who was also shot inside his house by a stray bullet, The Star Tribune reported.

8 dead in California tour bus collision

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A Southern California tour bus crashed into a car and pickup truck on Sunday, killing at least eight people and injuring 38, NPR reported.

The driver's reported brake problems combined with State Route 38's mountainous terrain caused the bus to rear-end a sedan and flip over onto a pickup truck that was pulling a trailer, California Highway Patrol Spokesman Mario Lopez confirmed as reported by NPR.

The highway was shifted to one lane in order for many ambulances to transport injured along the mountainous highway. After several hours all of the injured passengers had been removed from the bus, CNN reported.

Lopez expects the death toll of eight to rise, CNN reported.

The bus had lettering for Scapadas Magicas LLC, a licensed touring company with no recorded crashes in the past two years, NPR reported.


The fight over Minnesota's gay marriage amendment cost over $18 million, according to campaign finance reports released Friday, The Pioneer Press reported.

The amendment's main opponent, Minnesotans United for All Families, spent about $12.4 million on their victory, while the main supporting campaign, Minnesota for Marriage, spent $5.6 million, Minnesota Public Radio reported.

The amendment would have defined marriage as only between a man and a woman. Autumn Leva, a Minnesota for Marriage spokeswoman, said the campaign predicted they would be outspent and thanked donors for their support, Minnesota Public Radio reported.

Richard Carlbom, who managed Minnesotans United for All Families, said that the group expected to spend more than $10 million and credited the "tens of thousands of engaged volunteers" with the victory, The Pioneer Press reported.

The fight for gay marriage will move to the Legislatiure, where several DFL lawmakers have said they will support the legalization of gay marriage this session, Minnesota Public Radio reported.

About this Archive

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

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