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

Analysis: Records/CAR

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Analysis: US economy grows 2.5% on buoyant consumer spending, BBC News reported.

In this article, the reporter used a lot of data sets to illustrate United States' economy growth. The records and analysis used to produce the story are Commerce Department data, bond-buying schedule, GDP figures, Dow Jones index, S&P 500 datas, government spending data and ING economist Rob Carnell's analysis on the subject.

In order for the reporter to do this reporting, one has to know how to sort out different figures by using excel for example to figure out the percentage changes and the knowledge to all the referenced records such as S&P 500 and GDP figures.

The news organization use online tools such as graphics, and indented an article written by an analyst to call in expert opinion and validate their article's credibility. Also, the news organization inserted a case study excerpt of a New York local clothing manufacturer to engage the readers on an more personal level.

FEC commissioners said no and denied gay couples the rights to donate for political campaigns through personal account, cited the Defense of Marriage Act's legal requirements for its decision, Washington Post reported.

According to USA Today, because the gay marriage law doesn't recognize them as spouses, the FEC clarified that commissioners were prevented from treating donations from same-sex couples the same as straight couples.

The commission ruled in a 5-0 vote that they had no choice but to reject it, Washington Post reported.

"The Defense of Marriage Act is remarkably clear," said Donald F. McGahn II, the commission's vice chair. "We just can't disregard DOMA, regardless of what we think of it," Washington Post reported.

FEC Chairwoman Ellen Weintraub said she was "very reluctantly voted no" in a statement but had no choice because DOMA serves as a "discriminatory, irrational burden," which limits the political participation of legally married same-sex couples, USA Today reported.

"It's sad that in the 21st century the federal government is still denying certain people their First Amendment rights as guaranteed under the US Constitution," Dan Winslow, a Republican candidate for Massachusetts Senate, said. "However, I am encouraged by the FEC's advice that I return to them as soon as DOMA is overturned and they will happily reverse their decision. I strongly believe DOMA will be overturned by the Supreme Court and I look forward to taking the FEC up on its offer as soon as that happens."

When the Supreme Court rules on the gay marriage law, Winslow said in a statement after the vote he will will press the issue, Washington Post reported.

A Stillwater prison corrections officer was found carrying drugs on April 20 when a Wisconsin state trooper approached him on Interstate 90/94, authorities said, Star Tribune reported.

Randy S. Anderson, 52, a lieutenant since 1991, made his first appearance before Juneau County District Judge John Roemer in Mauston, Wis. and posted $10,000 bond after court, Stillwater Gazette reported.

Anderson was on charges of possession of cocaine, THC (ingredient that makes marijuana illegal), drug paraphernalia and with the intention of delivering the cocaine, Stillwater Gazette reported.

John Schadl, spokesman for Minnesota Department of Corrections, could not comment on Anderson's case since it's a personal matter. "These are certainly some very serious charges, and this is something we'll be cooperating with authorities on," he said, Star Tribune reported.

Anderson could also face disciplinary investigation from the Minnesota Department of Corrections, Star Tribune reported.

Currently, Anderson could face more than 40 years in prison with his felony cocaine charge, Stillwater Gazette reported.

United States five living presidents gathered in one place Thursday for the dedication of George W. Bush Presidential Center, USA Today reported.

President Barrack Obama, all the living former presidents, former foreign leaders and hundreds of admirors and former Bush administration officials were present to dedicate the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum at Southern Methodist University, the New York Times reported.

President Barrack Obama and former president Bill Clinton both complimented Bush on his efforts to fight AIDS in Africa, and Obama praised Bush for his dedication to immigration system.

"We know President Bush the man," Mr. Obama told the crowd. "To know the man is to like the man. Because he's comfortable in his own skin. He knows who he is. He doesn't put on any pretenses. He takes the job seriously but he doesn't take himself too seriously. He's a good man."

Former First Lady Laura Bush said the presidential library "is not just about one president. Each library is about our nation and the world during that time," USA Today reported.

The library and museum raised $500 million for its grograms.

And the library turned public to the National Archives and Records Administration on Wednesday, USA Today reported.

Mr. Bush concluded by saying "God bless America, and thank you very much," the New York Times reported.

France legalized same-sex marrage

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France legalized same-sex marriage Tuesday by a vote of 331 to 225 in the National Assembly, Washington Post reported.

The National Assembly passed "Marriage for All" law in February.The second and final reading was Tuesday, and the same bill was approved by upper-house Senate on April 12, France 24 reported.

Justice Minister Christiane Taubira told legislators on Tuesday evening the law was a "very beautiful reform," Washington Post reported.

"I feel like this is part of an evolving process; this is clearly the direction France needs to move in. The impression I have is that we are finally catching up," Gaillard, the gay-marriage activist, said.

The same-sex marriage bill still faces challenge after it passed as opponents said they would keep dispute on the matter.

A Brooklyn Park triple murder suspect identified

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A woman identified the accused suspect Eddie Mosley to be the man outside the murder scene.

Kamiel Houston-Zizi, said in court she was "98 percent sure" that Mosley was the man she saw after she dropped off her son at the day care the morning of April 9, 2012., Pioneer Press reported.

Prosecutors alleged Mosley's motive for the killing of Brown, 59, and her parents, James Bolden Sr., 83, and Clover Bolden, 81, was a sexual assault charge of his teenage relative, Star Tribune reported.

Mosley's trial was opened Monday.

"I said, 'There's a suspicious man outside your door' and she said, 'Hey, you.... Stop!' and then the phone went dead," Houston-Zizi testified, Pioneer Press reported.

"I knew he'd done something bad." Houston-Zizi said. She saw Mosley circling around on a bike and later ran out of the house, rode off on his bike.

However, Defense attorney Travis Keil pointed out authorities never found the weapon and bicycle nor is Mosley's DNA present at the crime scene, Star Tribune reported.

The trial continues Tuesday afternoon.

Senate plan to vote on Internet sales tax bill

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The senate discussed Thursday to incorporate the legislation as an amendment to its budget resolution and plan to vote on Internet sales tax bill as early as Monday, Washington Post reported.

Large Internet retailers, such as Amazon are worried the tax would increase the cost and create surcharges for the business, Reuters reported.

On the other hand, small retailers seek this bill as an opportunity to compete with large Internet retailers, Reuters reported.

The essence of Internet shopping is that the retailers wouldn't have to collect sales tax as long as they don't have a physical store in the state where consumers shop, Washington Post reported.

Few people do or are aware of the fact that they have to track online purchases and may owed taxes in their annual fillings to the IRS.

If the bill passes, consequently, the local government would gain $11 billion per year in added revenue that Internet retailers are legally owed, Washington Post reported.

"I cannot think of an instant where this Congress has legislated that a state can go into another state and enforce taxation laws," Montana Senator Max Baucus, the Democrat who preside the Finance Committee, said. "This is revolutionary."

Senator Al Franken, a Democrat from Minnesota, said the Internet sales tax bill would make possible for small online businesses to compete with extensive retailers across Minnesota and the country, Reuters reported.

Earthquake in China, at least 180 people dead

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A 6.6 magnitude quake struck in Ya'an, Sichuan provence Saturday, approximately 11,200 people were injured, CNN reported.

According to the state media, 207 people were dead or missing and 960 severely injured, BBC news reported.

Although thousands of rescue workers, including soldiers, are delivering supplies to locations the earthquake hit, Ya'an City will to run out of fresh drinking water within three days, the Sichuan Red Cross estimated, CNN reported.

Chinese Premier Chief Li Keqiang told reporters the most important thing is to save lives. He is currently overseeing the relief efforts in Ya'an, BBC News reported.

Soon after 8 a.m. local time on Saturday, the earthquake struck 71 miles from the capital of Chengdu, at a depth of around 12 kilometers, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

"I tried to call my brother but could not get through. I ran back to the village and was told at the entrance of the village that my brother's house had collapsed," Yang Shanqing, a survivor, said. "I rushed here only to see a crowd of people trying to grab the family out of the ruins, but they failed."

Yang had lost his entire family in the tragedy, BBC News reported.

Nearly all the building were ruined in Longmen village, Lushan county, officials said.

"The Chinese government has put a lot of money into building schools and hospitals. I can guarantee that no schools collapsed," Chen Yong, the vice-director of the Ya'an city government earthquake response office, said.

Minnesota couple was accused of starving their adopted son, 8, and a judge has terminated their parental rights, KARE 11 reported.

Last October, the boy vomited blood and was brought to a Mankato hospital by his mother, Kare 11 reported.

The boy weighted less than 35 pounds and was diagnosed to be severely malnourished, Star Tribune reported.

Nicollet County District Judge Todd Westphal wrote Wednesday saying he did not think the parents purposely starved the boy but they were unable to give proper medical care to the boy, Star Tribune reported.

However, the judge did not decide Hauers' parental rights to their other three children but required further proceeding to meet the children's need.

Hauer's attorney Jason Kohlmeyer said he was devastated by the rulling and will consider appealing within the next 20 days, Star Tribune reported.

Since the boy got out of the Mayo Clinic last November, he has been with foster parents who were willing to adopt him, the judge said.

Failed to withdraw guilty plea, Kong Meng Vang was sentenced eight years in prison Wednesday, April 17, for involving in the gang rape of a St. Paul girl, 15, in November 2011, Pioneer Press reported.

Vang, 39, was one of nine suspects accused of conspiring and sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in a vacant house he once owned, Star Tribune reported.

Defense attorney Gary Wol argued Vang "has no memory" of the plea hearing and requested to withdraw guilty plea, Pioneer Press reported.

The request was declined by Judge Gregg Johnson, Pioneer Press reported.

"This defendant knew he pled guilty," Prosecutor Heidi Westby said after she asked investigators to listen Vang's phone call from jail.

Vang Vue, who was sentenced to 21 years in prison, said all the defendants were associated or members of "Blood" gangs, Pioneer Press reported.

Vang did not sexually assaulted the girl; however, he admitted he knew the gang members raped the girl and done it for the benefit of a gang after Prosecutor Westby's interrogation, Star Tribune reported.

Five other defendants also pleaded guilty, Pioneer Press reported.

The prosecutors is asking the Minnesota Supreme Court to review the decision on the youngest defendant, 17, to be tried as adult rather than in juvenile court, Star Tribune reported.