November 2012 Archives

Cold Spring police officer killed in ambush

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A Cold Spring police officer was killed late Thursday after answering a call about a suicidal person, the Star Tribune reported.

Tom Decker, 31, was shot to death in what authorities are calling an ambush killing, the Huffington Post reported.

The shooter was identified as Ryan Michael Larson, 34, of Cold Spring, the Star Tribune reported.

Authorities received a call that Larson may be suicidal but were unable to get a response when they arrived at his apartment, the Huffington Post reported.

Decker and his partner returned to Larson's apartment one hour and 45 minutes later. Larson confronted the two officers upon their return and shot and killed Decker, the Star Tribune reported.

Decker had been wearing a protective vest, and authorities have not released where the bullets hit him, the Star Tribune reported.

Larson was the father of four children and had been on the police force for six years, according to the Huffington Post.

Two tickets win record Powerball jackpot

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Two ticket holders won the largest Powerball jackpot ever on Wednesday, the Associated Press reported.

The $587.5 million jackpot numbers matched a ticket sol in Missouri and a ticket from Kansas, the Associated Press reported.

The Powerball numbers for the second largest lottery prize in U.S. history are 5, 16, 22, 23, 29 with a Powerball of 6, according to the Associated Press.

It has not yet been determined if the winners are groups of people or individuals, the reported.

Powerball tickets were sold at a rate of 130,000 per minute, according to the Star Tribune. That rate is six times higher than one week ago.

The winners have not yet come forward, the Star Tribune reported, but they both have 180 days to claim their prizes.

The Pakistani Taliban took responsibility on Tuesday for an attempt to assassinate a prominent television anchor, CNN reported.

A bomb made up of one pound of explosives was found underneath the car of Hamid Mir, a senior anchor of GEO's prime time television program, the Washington Post reported.

"We will continue targeting journalists who propagate a secular agenda and side with the government," said Ihsanullah Ihsan, a spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban.

The Pakistani Taliban targeted Mir after his coverage of a schoolgirl was shot by the militants, the Washington Post reported. The assassination attempt came a month after the group threatened Mir for this coverage.

The bomb was found by a police officer that is a part of Mir's security team. Mir had ran into a local market when the bomb was detected, CNN reported.

"We have a lot of respect for journalists, however all those who are spreading negative news against us and Islam will be targeted," Ihsan said.

Confidential documents found among parade confetti

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Shredded confidential police documents were discovered within the confetti thrown at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade in New York, CNN reported.

The confetti contained social security numbers, police detail assignments, and incident reports that were all visible on the strips that were thrown, Time reported. Some strips also contained information from presidential candidate Mitt Romney's campaign.

Saul Finkelstein, the eyewitness who alerted the police, said he found police documents in still Turing up on Monday morning, the Chicago Tribune reported.

"There were shredded papers all over the place, like snowball size, all over the ground," Finkelstein told CNN.

Most of the information could not have been pieced together to cause a major threat, Time reported. Parade attendees were still concerned about the breach in security.

Macy's responded to the incident saying it uses commercially manufactured confetti, not shredded up papers, Time reported.

Little Falls man charged with Thanksgiving shooting

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A Little Falls man was charged on Monday for two teens that were shot and killed on Thanksgiving, Fox News reported.

The cousins, Haile Kifer, 18, and Nicholas Brady, 17, were allegedly shot by Byron David Smith, 64, according to Fox News.

Smith was charged Monday with two counts of second-degree murder, according to the Associated Press.

The cousins were shot during an apparent Thanksgiving Day break-in, the Associated Press reported. Smith allegedly shot Kifer several times as she made her way into his basement. After she fell to the ground laughing, Smith said he shot her several more times in the chest.

"If you're trying to shoot somebody and they laugh at you, you go again," Smith told investigators, the Associated Press reported.

Morrison County Sheriff Michel Wetzel told Fox News, Smith's actions exceed self-defense after the bodies were found on Friday.

Minnesota laws allow homeowners to defend themselves against intruders, the Associated Press reported. Smith said he believed the intruders may have had a weapon.

"The law doesn't permit you to execute somebody once a threat is gone," Wetzel said.

Analysis: Diversity - Somali Voter Fraud

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The Huffington Post posted an article about voter fraud really focused on Somali voters that I found very interesting. It lead be to the original story posted by Human Events about the situation.

The article cited Human Events for information about groups of Somalia voters who could not speak English arriving by the "van-load" at an Ohio polling place during the election and being subjected to voting with only democratic interpreters present. It was later discovered that there were republican interpreters present as well. The Human Events story criticized the right of non-English speaking people to vote.

"The logical follow-up question is whether a non-English speaking person is an American citizen," The article read.

I grew up in an area with quite a few Somali immigrants and Minnesota currently has the largest population of Somalis in North America. What really drew me to this cultural group are the stereotypes that this culture gets stuck with so often. Receiving driver licenses fraudulently is one of the most common stereotypes given to the Somali community. This Human Events story really perpetuated these stereotypes in this article. It cited almost all of its information from anonymous citizens at the polls who witnessed this activity. This really hinders the credibility of the reports, and as seen in the article, some of these reports ended up being incorrect. The claimed there were only democratic interpreters encouraging them to vote for Obama, but late found out that was not true.

The article continued to attempt to tear down the legitimacy of the Somali community's right to vote by citing information from Somali Community Association of Ohio's web site. According to Human Events, "over 45,000 Somalis live in Ohio. Only 40 percent have become citizens of the United States, and only 25 percent speak English well enough to get a job." First off, more than 45,000 Somalis live in Ohio, not over 45,000. Second, the information on the ability to speak English well is irrelevant to a citizenship status. It is a not a requirement to be able to speak English to be allowed to vote and the Huffington Post article mentioned only very basic English is needed to become a naturalized citizen. This really just was included to try and lesser the worth of the Somali vote.

Teen denied confirmation for supporting gay marriage

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A Catholic teen from northwestern Minnesota was refused the sacrament of confirmation after posting a facebook picture against the marriage amendment, the Star Tribune reported.

Lennon Cihak, 17, was allegedly denied the religious rite of passage by Rev. Gary LaMoine of the Assumption Church in Barnesville, Minn. after seeing him online holding a sign in opposition of the marriage amendment, the Huffington Post reported. The amendment to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman was defeated on Nov. 6.

Shana Cihak, Lennon's mother, said she was shocked to hear about the decision and was told through a private meeting with the priest, the Huffington Post reported.
"I just thought it was wrong to single him out," his mother said.

Lennon said that though all of this, it hasn't affected his faith, the Forum reported.

"I don't want the church to be put down. I don't want the Catholic religion to be put down," he said. "It's just the way the priest has things running. He's so strict. He won't loosen up about things."

Police received a call that shots had been fired at Target Corporation's headquarters in downtown Minneapolis on Friday, the Star Tribune reported.

Police did not find any evidence of shots being fired after sweeping the building, the Pioneer Press reported.

A SWAT team and about a dozen squad cars were dispatched to 10th Street South and Nicollet Avenue after the call was received at around 11:30 a.m., the Pioneer Press reported. Police gave sounded the all-clear at about 1:30 p.m.

Some workers at the headquarters barricaded themselves into their offices once reports of the reported shots were received, the Star Tribune reported.

"We're all in a conference room. They had an announcement that there was a situation and we should go into a locked office," said Julia Brosz, a Target store planner who works in the downtown Retek Building.

Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau said workers may have mistaken noises in the duct work for shots, the Star Tribune reported.

Obama calls criticism of Rice "outrageous"

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President Barack Obama called Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham and John McCain comments about U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice "outrageous" at a press conference held on Wednesday, CNN reported.

"If Senator McCain and Senator Graham and others want to go after someone they should go after me," Obama said.

Both senators have said they would work to block Rice out of becoming Secretary of State because of her recent relationship with the events in Benghazi, Libya, the Washington Post reported.

Rice had suggested the attack was a spontaneous crime, but it was later discovered that it was planned, the Washington Post reported.

Obama began the press conference with notes of bipartisanship and compromise, but quickly changed tones when Rice was brought up, the Washington Post reported.

Graham responded to the president shortly after the conference, CNN reported.

"Mr. President, don't think for one minute I don't hold you ultimately responsible for Benghazi. I think you failed as commander-in-chief before, during, and after the attack," Graham said.

France formally recognizes Syrian National Coalition

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France became the first European country to recognize the newly formed Syrian National Coalition as sole representation of the Syrian people on Tuesday, the New York Times reported.

This announcement, given by President François Hollande, raises the possibility of arming the coalition as it works to fight off the opposition, the New York Times reported.

The Financial Times reported the notion of sending weapons to the coalition "will be necessarily looked at again" from both Paris and other cities that recognize the group, Hollande said.

Both Britain and the U.S. have expressed backing of the coalition, but are still cautious about formally recognizing the group, the Financial Times reported.

The New York Times reported that this reluctance is based on an uncertainty of how weapons would be used if they were provided to the coalition.

Lance Armstong resigns from Livestrong board

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Armstrong resigns from boardLance Armstrong has quit the board of his cancer-fighting charity to avoid further damage in wake of his doping charges, the Star Tribune reported.

Armstrong formally cut all ties with the Livestrong charity on Nov. 4, the Star Tribune reported. He said he would still stay unofficially involved in the charity.

His choice to resign was "to spare the organization any negative effects as a result of controversy surrounding his cycling career," according to a statement by Jeff Garvey, the foundation's chairman, CNN reported.

Armstrong had previously given up is chairman position during the scandal on Oct. 17, according to the Star Tribune.

"Lance Armstrong was instrumental in changing the way the world views people affected by cancer. His devotion to serving survivors is unparalleled and for 15 years, he committed himself to that cause with all his heart," Garvey said.

Although Armstrong has his seven Tour de France titles revoked, CNN reported Armstrong tweeted a picture of himself with his prized yellow jerseys in the background.

Armstrong 's personal sponsors, including Nike and Anheuser-Busch, have also dropped their contracts with him, the Star Tribune reported.

Analysis: Numbers - JC Penney

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In Reuters story on Friday discussing JC Penney's major third quarter loss, numbers were utilized both clearly and effectively. The write used numbers in multiple ways, to compare loss percentages with expected loss, to describe share holder's percentages, to report on sales per square foot, elaborate on time-frames and quantities, and to describe shareholders stakes in both percentage form and dollar amounts. Even with all the hefty information the numbers are used to explain, as a novice business news reader, I was easily able to follow the writer's way of reporting the numbers.

First, the author's lead explains what the numbers mean without actually overwhelming the lead with numbers. By explaining that sales have decreased significantly more than expected, by the time a reader sees the decrease of 26.1 percent compared to the expected decrease of 17.9 percent, it is easy to see how significant that is. By using percentages rather than dollar figures is also helpful in this instance because many readers wouldn't be able to interpret for themselves the dollar amount that would have a significant impact on sales for such a large company.

The numbers I found most interesting were the explanations of sales per square foot. The difference in sales per square foot in the same stores over different departments really added to the emphasize the writer was trying to put on the success Penney's has had. Although the company's sales were dismal, some progress has been made in the retail revamp.

Stocks are something that can be extremely confusing. The reporter of this story was able to incorporate them successfully by using both the percent the stocks fell as well as the dollar amount. By concluding the story with a look back at the sales percent loss, the reporter was able to incorporate the actual dollar figure there. This was a smart placement because readers who have stuck with the story until the end may be better able to digest and interpret that number now that they have the full context of how much sales have dropped.

The numbers the reported gathered came from JC Penney Co. Chief Executive Ron Johnson released and elaborated on some of the numbers and stock change for the company is publicly available. The reporter was able to compare all of JC Penney's third quarter reporting with analysts' estimations and past sales to determine the percentage it had dropped.

JC Penney 3Q sales plummet

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J.C. Penney Co reported its worst drop in sales on Friday after CEO Ron Johnson's radical transformation of store operations, Reuters reported.

The chain reported a third-quarter loss of 26 percent and store traffic down 12 percent, the Star Tribune reported. This is the third consecutive quarter of losses Penney's has reported since it ditched coupons and sales events for everyday low prices.

Part of the problem has been customer confusion on the pricing, the Star Tribune reported. Johnson said the company will being putting the suggested retail price next to Penney's price on the tag to help eliminate this confusion.

Along with the low prices, Penney's has been working to convert its stores into a collection of boutiques, Reuters reported.

These new boutiques have generated more sales per square foot than the "old JCP" is, Reuters reported. These eight boutiques are generating $269 of sales per square foot, an increase from $139 in the older parts of the store.

"It's about the shops. That's the future of the company," investor William Ackman, told Reuters.

Bachmann defeats Jim Graves

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Michele Bachmann defeated democratic challenger Jim Graves on Tuesday to continue representing Minnesota's 6th congressional district, the Huffington Post reported.

Bachmann won the race by just more than 3,000 of the 350,000 votes, according to the Washington Post.

Although there was talk of a recount, Graves conceded at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, New York Daily News reported.

After unsuccessfully running for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, she faced a tough reelection campaign against Graves, the Huffington Post reported.

The Washington Post reported Bachmann releasing this statement,"It has truly been an honor and a privilege to represent the people of Minnesota's Sixth District in Congress, and I am humbled that they have placed their trust in me for another term."

Bachmann has been criticized for a number of public mistakes she has made, including saying that the first shots of the Revolutionary War were fired in New Hampshire, repeating one woman's unverified story of a child suffering from mental retardation from the HPV vaccine, and claiming that the Founding Fathers "worked tirelessly until slavery was no more," New York Daily News reported.

Bachmann, founder of the Tea Party caucus in the House of Representatives, was elected to Congress in 2006, according to the Huffington Post.

Colorado, Washington legalize marijuana

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Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize recreational use of marijuana in Tuesday's election, the Huffington Post reported.

Both states have legalized the drug for recreational use for adults, but federal law still names cannabis a controlled substance, according to the Huffington Post. The federal government still has laws against the purchase and distribution of the drug, CNN reported.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper warned it's too soon to "break out the Cheetos."

The success of the campaigns is heavily attributed to the law officials who spoke out on behalf the pro-pot campaigns, according to the Huffington Post.

The war on drugs has used $1 trillion in tax dollars in 40 years, the Huffington Post reported. In 2010 alone, 850,000 Americans have been arrested for marijuana law violations.

Massachusetts also approved a marijuana referendum legalizing medicinal use of marijuana, the Huffington Post reported.

Medical marijuana was already legal in 17 states, making Massachusetts the 18th, according to CNN.

A British lawmaker has been suspended Tuesday after deciding to take part in an Australian reality television show, according to Yahoo News.

Conservative legislator Nadine Dorries decided to take part in the show "I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here" in which contestants are stranded in the Australian Jungle and viewers vote them off one at a time, the Star Tribune reported.

Dorries was suspended from the party's parliamentary caucus by the Conservatives, who lead Britain's coalition government, until she can meet with the head of discipline Chief Whip George Young, the Star Tribune reported.

She was criticized for taking a month off of her duties to participate in the show, the Star Tribune reported.

"The concern is that she will not be doing parliamentary or constituency business in the meantime," a spokesman for the Conservatives told Yahoo News.

Although her participation in the show could backfire, Conservative commentator Tim Montgomerie said appearing could help Dorries "present an image of a Tory MP that defies some of the popular preconceptions and caricatures," the Star Tribune reported.

Target Center drops Ticketmaster

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Target Center announced on Monday it will no longer be using Ticketmaster to see seats for non-basketball events, the Star Tribune reported.

Starting Nov. 6, Target Center will begin using AXS Ticketing in place of Ticketmaster, Kare 11 reported.

Ticketmaster has been under a lot of scrutiny over the exorbitant processing fees attached to tickets, according to the Star Tribune. Although AXS does not get rid of all those fees, unlike Ticketmaster, they will be clear, less steep and there will not be a fee for printing tickets off at home.

"Ticketmaster took the bad rap for ticket fees because they were the dominant ticketing company for so long, but those fees are still a reality with every new ticketing company that's emerging," said David Balcer, Target Center's director of ticketing.

AXS will give customers more transparency throughout the buying process and list the fees upfront, according to Kare 11.

The company has also developed a way to ticket purchasers to reserve seats adjacent to the already purchased seats for friends and family, the Star Tribune reported.

Analysis: Obit - Larry Bloch

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The New York Times reported the death of the Wetlands Club creator, Larry Bloch, in the obituaries on Saturday following the standard for obituaries.
The lead follows the structure for a typical obituary with the introduction of Bloch, what is most recognized for and then the place of his death. The lead concludes with his age.

Bloch's wife is used as a source for confirmation of the cause of death in the second paragraph. His own comments from past interviews were placed within the obituary to help readers see what he was hoping to accomplish with his club.

Bloch's obituary has news value because it was timely, he had prominence in his community, and, in a way, novelty. His work on an environmental driven rock club is not a common business venture. He was also able to work with very prominent musicians and celebrities throughout his career at the club.

An obituary is significantly more emotion driven than a resume. A resume lists skills and expertise that an individual has but an obituary include details about the deceased's relationships and accomplishments in more than just work life. Although the professional work of that person may be listed, an obituary can be created for a prominent figure who has gained his or her notoriety through personal accomplishments.

By Laura Marrinan
LAS VEGAS - Theresea Faiss, wife of former state Sen. Wilbur Faiss and half of the America's longest marriage, has died in Las Vegas at the age of 97, the Star Tribune reported Friday.

Faiss has been recognized just months ago by the Worldwide Marriage Encounter as having the longest marriage in America, 79 years, the International Business Times reported.

"She was an amazing woman who was adored by her three sons," Linda Faiss, her daughter-in-law, told the Las Vegas Review Journal. "Fortunately the family got together a couple of days ago for Dad's 101st birthday."

Earlier this year, President Barack Obama planned on giving the couple a public acknowledgment in southern Nevada, but the couple was unable to attend the event, the Star Tribune reported. Family members said they were able to meet the president at a later date.

The couple also has a middle school named after them, the International Business Times reported. They would go and speak with students at the school every year.

Cyclone weakens in India

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By Laura Marrinan
NEW DEHLI -Tropical Storm Nilam began to weaken Thursday in southern India after displacing 150,000 people and killing at least six, NBC reported.

About 8,000 people have been moved to temporary shelters and eight deaths were reported, according to CNN.

"We are in the process of making a full assessment of the damage," said M. Jayaraman, joint commissioner of revenue administration for the state government, according to the New York Times. "But we know that eight people have died and a total of 8,556 people from coastal districts in Tamil Nadu were affected due to Nilam."

An oil tanker with 37 people moved into choppy waters on Wednesday and capsized leaving at least six crew members missing, CNN reported.

The New York Times reported a fisherman finding 16 of the sailors on the boat, and that the coast guard sent out five helicopters and three boats to search for the remaining sailors.

Power supplies were disrupted and winds reached up to 62 miles per hour during the storm, the New York Times reported.

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