October 2012 Archives

For this week's news analysis, I am going to look at the Huffington Post and the Star Tribune. These two news organizations' websites have similarities and differences in the way they incorporate multimedia content into their overall websites and individual stories.

Huffington Post definitely links its stories to images in a more obvious manner. The story that the Huffington Post staff finds most important is always accompanied by a giant image at the top of the page (with huge text, too), and as one scrolls down the page, he or she notices that every story is introduced with a picture and a headline. The picture is certainly the predominating feature; there may be only a few words to accompany it.

The Star Tribune accompanies its story teases with pictures, too, but not in the case of every story. Its "Latest News" section is text-only (in list format). If one scrolls further down the page, there are other stories accompanied by images, but the top half of the page is more text-heavy. The images are not quite as large as those that accompany the stories on the Huffington Post page.

For the majority of the stories that one clicks on via either the Star Tribune or Huffington Post site, the page looks the same: the article is accompanied by just one image. As far as photo albums go, the Star Tribune has a separate section, halfway down the homepage, that features photo galleries. The Huffington Post does not have a specific area in which photo galleries are featured, but it does set off this type of story with "PHOTOS: ____". The Star Tribune does a better job of guiding interested readers directly to the photo albums because of the way in which it groups them into their own section.

Both sites have a section for videos. For the Huffington Post, this is HuffPost Live, and for the Star Tribune, this is "Latest Videos." Both organizations feature this video section toward the top of the page.

The organization of these two news organizations' pages illustrates that they both fully recognize the importance of providing readers with visuals and engaging multimedia content. This goes beyond the original reader's capabilities with print media; the user could only read what was in front of him. But with photo albums, for example, the user is not passive, for he is required to actively press the arrows to scroll through different images. In the age of the Internet, graphics have become more and more important; people stray from blocks and blocks of text. I do think the Huffington Post page -- with its large photos for every story -- is a bit more aesthetically pleasing, although it is certainly a more feature-driven organization than the Star Tribune. The Star Tribune tends to focus on hard news, so it does not have the means to obtain strong visuals for everything. Sometimes, it relies on stock photos or does not have a photo to use with a story.

The most interesting recent addition to these news organizations' pages is certainly the videos, which they display prominently, signaling that they find this section important. This is a change that took place within this decade. A few years ago, print and video news were two separate entities, but the lines have been very blurred throughout the Internet's "takeover" of news. It is very clear that print news organizations are trying to become more engaging and versatile by incorporating videos to appease the auditory learner.

Ukraine president's party takes over parliament

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The party of Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukoych has won a closely fought parliamentary election, results showed Sunday.

Representatives of the Party of Regions said this outcome illustrates that Ukrainians have confidence in their leader. Victory was granted to the party based on preliminary exit polls, the New York Times reported.

The exact configuration of the Parliament, called the Verkhovna Rada, will not be solidified for a few weeks because half of the 450 seats will be filled by candidates who did not have to declare a party affiliation before Sunday's balloting, the BCC reported.

Voter turnout was reported as 45 percent, which is average, the New York Times reported.

Opposition parties did better than expected. There was an unexpectedly strong rise in support for an ultranationalist party with a leader who is known for racist and anti-Semitic views, New York Times reported.

Yanukovich was elected in 2010 in a runoff election. He faces re-election in 2015, the BBC reported.

Yanukovich has been criticized by Western governments over the jailing of opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko. The president claims she was sentenced by an independent court, while opposition supporters say she was prosecuted and imprisoned in order to prevent her from running in the election, BBC reported.

Four shot in south Minneapolis

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An early Saturday morning shooting in south Minneapolis sent four people to the hospital, news sources report.

Police said that four people were shot on the 300 block of Cedar Avenue near The Red Sea just before 2 a.m, the Star Tribune reported.

The bouncers of the club were trying to force a crowd of people to leave using a chemical spray when someone opened fire outside the club, Sgt. Stephen McCarty told WCCO.

Two men and two women were shot, KSTP reported. All of the victims' injuries are non-life-threatening. Their identities have not been released, the Star Tribune reported.

Police say there have been more than 25 calls for service at The Red Sea throughout the last year. The owner says the music varies each night and Friday night was hip hop. Every patron is screened for weapons as they enter, he told KSTP.

No arrests have been made in the case, KSTP reported.

Statue of Liberty reopens after renovation

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After being closed for one year for a renovation project, the Statue of Liberty reopened to the public Sunday, news sources report.

The renovation involved replacing the stairs to the crown, as well as creating wheelchair access to one of the observation decks at the top of the pedestal, the Associated Press reported. Visitors in wheelchairs can now go to the top of the statue's pedestal and see inside the structure; they were restricted from seeing the statue from the ground before the renovations, Reuters reported.

The number have stairs has increased from 354 to 393, with the new steps being slightly less steep. A new air-conditioning system has been added, and the bathrooms have been upgraded, KABC reported.

During the year that the statue was closed, visitors were only permitted within the grounds on Liberty Island in New Yark Harbor. The interior renovation project cost $30 million, the Associated Press reported.

Park officials say about 3.5 million people visit Liberty Island every year, although most do not go inside the statue, Reuters reported.

The statue is 151 feet from base to torch. It sits on an 89-foot tall stone pedestal, which sits on a 65-foot foundation in the shape of a star, KABC reported.

Although it reopened Sunday on the 126th anniversary of its dedication, the monument will be closed Monday and Tuesday because of the impending hurricane. It is expected to reopen Wednesday, the Associated Press reported.

Mall of America to host ice castle this winter

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A 40-foot tall ice castle will be built on one of Mall of America's parking lots this holiday season, news sources report.

The mall released details Thursday about the plan of Ice Castles LLC, a Utah-based company that has built similar structures in other cities. The company has tended to focus on smaller markets than the Twin Cities, Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal reported.

Construction of the ice castle will begin next month, and it will take four to six weeks to construct. It will be open to the public from late December through February, Kare11 reported.

The castle will consist of icicles grown from 4 million gallons of water. It will also feature 50 large ice towers in a series of archways, tunnels, walls and caverns. There will be a center courtyard with the highest tower and several "throne rooms" with ice chairs, Kare11 reported.

The castle will still be visible at night due to thousands of LED multi-colored lights, Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal reported.

"We cannot wait to watch this magical ice castle come to life," Maureen Bausch, executive vice president of business development at Mall of America said to Kare11. "We're always looking for ways to enhance the Mall of America experience for families, couples and friends alike and what better way than with a one-of-a-kind attraction like this ice castle?"

Tickets will cost $5 for children ages 3-12 and $10 for adults, Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal reported.

Bloomberg donates to Minnesota's gay marriage effort

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New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg made a $125,000 challenge grant Monday to support gay marriage in Minnesota, news sources report.

"I was proud to support the successful push for marriage equality in New York State, and I'm proud to stand with supporters around the country," Bloomberg said in a statement. "I do not believe that government has any business telling one class of couples that they cannot marry," Bloomberg said, Maine Today reported.

Bloomberg gave $250,000 to a similar effort in Maryland earlier this month. Today, he also gave challenge grants to Washington and Maine. These states are also voting on gay marriage this year, the Associated Press reported.

The "challenge grant" lets campaigns urge other donors to match the donation dollar for dollar. This donate is one of the single largest individual contributions to Minnesotans United for All Families, the group opposed to the amendment, the Associated Press reported.

Bloomberg donated this money from his personal fortune. He is an independent billionaire who made his money as founder and owner of the Bloomberg business news media empire, Maine Today reported.

"The 14th Amendment guarantees us all equal protection under the law, and marriage equality is the next big step in America's long march of freedom," Bloomberg said in a statement. "The barriers to it are bound to fail; the question is not if but when," Bloomberg said, WNYC reported.

On Nov. 6, Minnesota voters will vote on a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Alternatively, voters in Maine, Maryland and Washington are all voting on whether to allow gay marriage, Maine Today reported.

Analysis: Earlier puberty seen in boys

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In the Associated Press's article, "Earlier puberty seen in American boys, some experts doubt trend," the author organized the details according to what she felt was most important for the reader to know. This article is an example of a deviance from the traditional "inverted pyramid" model, yet it is engaging nonetheless.

The lead does not provide much information; it is more intriguing than informative. The second graf provides all the necessary information -- the who, what, when, etc.

The author chooses to address the "why" in the third graf, whereas she places particular information about the study -- when and how it was conducted, etc. -- toward the middle of the article. This is interesting to me because I would have originally thought I should put this information further up; however, when I think more about it, it makes sense that she placed this further down. In the grand scheme of things, people are more interested in the "why" rather than the details of how many people partook in this study and so on.

Another interesting aspect of this article is that the author introduces early on (around the fourth graf) that there is a controversy that surrounds the information in this study. She writes, "Doctors say earlier puberty is not necessarily cause for concern. And some experts question whether the trend is even real." I feel like this "counterargument" is usually introduced later in the article. By getting to it right away, the author ensures that a main focus of this article is that there are two sides.

Lastly, I found the author's use of "but" constructions unusual. It almost made the article take an argumentative tone in places, or at least a subjective one.

The author ends with a quote that does not seem very strong or interesting. That might be the only thing I would have changed -- either pick a different quote or choose to end the article a different way.

All in all, I think the organization of this article is logical. It is very long, so it is important to get the most vital and novel information in at the top, and the author accomplishes that.

Gophers men's basketball assistant coach suspended

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The University of Minnesota assistant men's basketball coach has been placed on indefinite unpaid administrative leave Sunday after being arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, news sources report.

Saul Smith, son of head coach Tubby Smith, was pulled over by police early Saturday morning after leaving a downtown Minneapolis restaurant, CBS reported. The 32-year-old was stopped at 2:20 a.m. on westbound 394 for speeding and driving on the shoulder of the highway, Lt. Eric Roeske of the State Patrol said to the Star Tribune.

He blew a 0.18 on the breathalyzer, more than twice the legal limit. Smith was booked at 3:59 and released about four hours later, according to police reports, the Star Tribune reported.

Smith has been with the team for six seasons, CBS reported. He oversees Minnesota's guard development and ball handling improvement, the Star Tribune reported.

This was Smith's first offense. He is scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 3, CBS reported.

"While we do not want to rush to judgment before the legal process proceeds, Coach Tubby Smith and I are taking this matter seriously," Gophers Director of Athletics Norwood Teague said in a statement. "University of Minnesota values dictate that our coaches and staff be positive role models for our student-athletes. As such, we are taking disciplinary measures while the legal system takes it course," Teague said, the Star Tribune reported.

Three women killed in Milwaukee suburb

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Three women were killed in a shooting late Sunday morning at the Azana Salon & Spa in Brookfield, a suburb of Milwaukee, news sources report.

Four other women were wounded. Radcliffe F. Haughton, 45, of Brown Deer, Wisconsin, was the suspected shooter. He was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound inside the spa, the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel reported.

Haughton's estranged wife, Zina, worked at the spa. On Oct. 4, she reported to police that her tires were slashed in the parking lot of the spa. She obtained a temporary restraining order against him, which was served to him on Oct. 11, Daniel Tushaus, Brookfield Police Chief, the restraining order was for four years, USA Today reported.

The identifies of the three victims have not been released. They were found dead on the scene when officers arrived at the building. It is not yet known if Haughton's wife was killed, USA Today reported.

All of the wounded women are expected to survive, hospital officials told the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel. Details of their injuries were not provided.

According to Tushaus and other law enforcement officials who spoke at a press conference early Sunday evening, the shooting happened at 11:09 at the spa, 200 N. Moorland Road, the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel reported.

The spa is across the street from the Brookfield Square Mall. One of the spa patrons ran to the parking lot of the mall, screaming that her mother had been shot, USA Today reported.

Twitter blocks offensive international content

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Twitter removed racist and anti-Semitic tweets in French on Friday amid pressure from a Jewish group that threatened to sue the social network, news sources report.

The French Union of Jewish Students pressured Twitter on account of French law that forbids all discrimination based on ethnicity, nationality, race or religion, NPR reported.

As its international presence increases, Twitter is faced with new issues. On Thursday, Twitter blocked users in Germany from access to the account of a neo-Nazi group that the German government bans. This was the first time that Twitter acted on its policy of "county-withheld content," which it announced in January, the Associated Press reported.

The policy requires that international users comply with local laws regarding online conduct and acceptable content, the Associated Press reported. This policy also means that Twitter will block an account at the request of a government, the New York Times reported.

Although Twitter has notoriously said it refuses to police its millions of users, these two incidents are seen as potentially marking a new stage for the company, the Associated Press reported.

In a statement, the company said, "Twitter does not mediate content. If we are alerted to content that may be in violation of our terms of service, we will investigate each report and respond according to the policies and procedures outlined in our support pages," JD Journal reported.

The anti-Semitic tweets in French that Twitter agreed to remove began on Oct. 10 and included slurs and Holocaust-related photos. Other tweets were anti-Muslim, the Associated Press reported.

Many European countries have anti-discrimination laws. The majority of these regulations date to the aftermath of the Holocaust and the acknowledgement from many governments that years of hate speech had contributed to the Nazi attempts to annihilate the Jews, the Associated Press reported.

The German content that Twitter removed related to specific laws in Germany that prohibit the use of Nazi-related symbols and slogans, like displaying the swastika or saying "heil Hitler," the New York Times reported.

Some users see Twitter's censorship activities as attacks on freedom of expression and have expressed such sentiments publicly on the social network, NPR reported.

Puberty beginning earlier in boys

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Researchers in the United States have found that signs of puberty are occurring in boys earlier than previously reported, news sources report.

The new averages are age 9 for blacks and 10 for whites and Hispanics, the Associated Press reported. The study was based off testes measurements in more than 4,000 boys as enlargement of testes is generally the earliest sign of puberty in boys, Health Day News reported. Some researchers claim early testes development may increase the risk for testicular cancer, but recent research found no such link.

Researchers have a few ideas as to why this phenomenon is being seen. Some suggest higher levels of obesity or inactivity to chemicals in food and water, each of which could disrupt normal hormone production, Health Day News reported.

Researchers say they are not necessarily viewing this as cause for concern. Other experts dispute that this trend is happening at all, the Associated Press reported.

Other research has indicated that girls are also entering puberty younger, the Associated Press reported.

Puberty is generally considered to be happening early if it begins before age 8 in girls and before age 9 in boys, Health Day News reported.

Problems such as thyroid abnormalities and brain tumors have been linked to early puberty, Health Day News reported.

This study used participants from 41 states via pediatricians; doctors asked parents and boys between ages 6 and 16 to take part during regular checkups between 2005 and 2010, the Associated Press reported.

Dr. Dianne Deplewski, a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of Chicago, said to the Associated Press that she has not seen any increase in the number of boys she sees for signs of early puberty.

"Just because this is happening doesn't mean this is normal or healthy," Deplewski said in the Associated Press.


Student debt in Minnesota ranks among highest in nation

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A new report from The Institute for College Access and Success shows the average 2011 graduate has $26,600 in student debt, news sources report.

The highest-debt state is New Hampshire. Students there graduated with an average of
$32,440 per student, Reuters reported.

Minnesota is the state with the third-greatest amount of student debt: $29,800, the Star Tribune reported. It is the only state in the top five that is not along the Northeast Corridor of the nation, Reuters reported. Approximately 71 percent of 2011 graduates from Minnesota's public and private nonprofit four-year universities had taken out student loans, the Pioneer Press reported.

Both the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth made the list of "high-debt" colleges, the Star Tribune reported.

Part of the report also included recommendations for slowing the increase in student debt. These recommendations included expanding the availability of financial aid information and the federal government's ability to collect debt information from colleges, the Pioneer Press reported.

The lowest debt state is Utah, where students have an average of $17,227 in debt, Reuters reported.

The national student debt average is up five percent from $25,250 last year. Recent college graduates also have an unemployment rate of 8.8 percent, Reuters reported.

Pakistani authorities verified Sunday that they have arrested three brothers suspected of being connected to last week's assassination attempt of Malala Yousafzai, news sources report.

The Los Angeles Times reported that more than 100 people have been detained for questioning in connection with the attack since Yousafzai, 14, was shot in the head last Tuesday. At this point, nearly all those people have been released. The three men arrested, Qari Inamullah, Obaid Ullah and Abdul Hadi, are not believed by authorities to have been the shooters in the attack; however, police have reason to believe that they played a role, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The house of the brothers in Akbarpura, a small village outside of the northwest city of Peshawar, was raided Saturday. The sect of the Pakistani Taliban believed to be responsible for the attack is the Swat Taliban, led by Maulana Fazlullah, the Associated Press reported. Fazlullah is believed to be hiding in eastern Afghanistan. Pakistani government sources, who asked not to be named, believe two of his top aides are responsible for the attack on Yousafzai, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Yousafzai remains in recovery and is being transported to the United Kingdom for treatment, the Pakistani army said. Until now, the girl has been at a military hospital in Rawalpindi, the BBC reported.

Analysis: Obama's pre-debate strategy

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In the Virginian Pilot's article, "Pre-debate, Obama hunkers down at Kingsmill resort," the author talks about Obama's preparation strategy for Tuesday's debate, the second in this year's presidential campaign. The author builds the story around the perspective of his sources, creating a unique angle. This is a story about the presidential campaign, but the author does not limit his sources to President Obama, Governor Mitt Romney, or their campaign teams. Instead, he creates a story around the opinions other have about the piece of news: that Obama is at a resort in Williamsburg, Virginia to prepare for the debate.

The author leads with the discussion of an event completely different from the presidential campaign: a high-end car show that happens to be taking place right where Obama is staying this weekend. The author quotes an attendee who talks about how Obama likely won't be seen at the car show. This is used to set up the rest of the details about Obama's weekend in Virginia.

The beginning of the story might mention a car show, but by the middle, all that's being discussed are the "5 W's" about Obama's campaign preparation. Having already quoted a "regular" source, the author throws the one quote he has from the president himself into the middle of the story.

Because he did not have any more of the president's words available, the author had to be creative. He goes back to talking about the car show and quotes another attendee, stating that he is an Obama supporter.

The author then presents the alternative viewpoint and ensures he remains balanced in the story. He talks to the car show's celebrity judge about why he does not support Obama.

The author's selection of sources in this story illustrates creativity and balance. He found a way to take a unique angle on a relatively blasé and straightforward story: that the president is in Virginia preparing for the debate. He moved beyond that basic fact and made the story about the local people and their reactions, which served to make the story more interesting for the readers. This is an example of how the sources an author chooses can really shape the entire story, from start to end. It gave a straight news piece more human interest, feature-like qualities.

President Barack Obama is spending more time preparing for Tuesday's debate than he did for the first debate ten days ago, news sources report.

According to CBS News, the president is at a golf resort in Williamsburg, Va., and he has cleared his schedule for the three days leading up to the debate in New York. His aides report that he will try to keep interruptions to a minimum, meaning he will not be found on the any of the resort's three golf courses nor at any nearby historic sites. He was criticized for visiting the Hoover Dam in the days leading up to the last debate in Denver, the New York Times reported.

Obama's campaign team said before the first debate that the president was rusty. Now, they are saying that he is taking preparation very seriously. Obama's response to a reporter who asked about his debate practice was that "it's going great," the Virginian-Pilot reported.

Tuesday's debate brings a new debate format: the town hall. Both candidates will take questions from a moderator but also from audience members, CBS news reported.

The election is just 24 days away. The most recent Gallup poll reports a two-point lead by Mitt Romney. In Florida, a crucial state for both candidates, a poll by the two largest newspapers in the state has Gov. Romney with a seven-point lead, 51 percent to 44 percent, CBS news reported.

Four people hit by a car near the University of Minnesota

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Two University of Minnesota students and two other pedestrians were crossing at the intersection of Washington Avenue and Oak Street Southeast when they were hit by a car Sunday, news sources report.

The four pedestrians and the driver were all taken to Hennepin County Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries. University of Minnesota junior Michael Duffy and his girlfriend, sophomore Abigail Reynolds, were among the people hit, along with Duffy's father, whose name was not reported. Duffy said another pedestrian was also involved, but he was not sure of his or her name, the Minnesota Daily reported.

The accident occurred around 3:10 p.m., Minneapolis police spokesman Sgt. Stephen McCarty told the Pioneer Press. The car that hit the group was a Ford Tempo taking a left turn onto Oak Street from Washington Avenue, the Minnesota Daily reported.

"We got the walk signal and took maybe a few steps, and the next thing I knew, I was in the air and then on the ground," Duffy told the Minnesota Daily. The driver said she did not see the pedestrians crossing the street, a University police officer told the Minnesota Daily.

Duffy said his dad was the one who likely suffered the most injuries from the crash and would be staying at HCMC Sunday night. His dad's leg could be fractured and he had hit his head in the crash, Duffy told the Minnesota Daily.

The car had minimal visible damage aside from a large crack in the windshield, the Minnesota Daily reported.

Two men killed in central Minnesota crash

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A car went off the road in central Minnesota and rolled into Lake Mille Lacs early Sunday, killing two men and injuring a third, news sources report.

Alcohol was detected in all three men, the Associated Press reported. Two of the men, Keegan Morrison, 32, of Minneapolis, and Ronald Dorr, 42, of Columbia, Minn., were wearing seatbelts. The crash killed Dorr, the front-seat passenger, and the driver, Andrew Nickaboine, 37, of Minneapolis, who was not wearing a seatbelt, the Star Tribune reported. Morrison, the rear-seat passenger, was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries, according to the Associated Press.

The Minnesota State Patrol believes the crash occurred while the men were heading north on Timber Trail Road, about 15 miles northwest of the city of Onamia. The car rolled into a ditch and ended up in the lake after crossing Hwy. 169. The crash occurred just after midnight, the Star Tribune reported.

Man makes highest and fastest jump in history

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An Austrian man fell to Earth from an altitude of 128,100 feet Sunday, breaking multiple altitude and speed records and shattering the sound barrier, news sources report.

Felix Baumgartner, 43, set the record for the highest and fastest jump in history, the New York Times reported. He ascended more than 24 miles above Earth in a helium balloon and then freefell at Mach 1.24, or 833.9 mph, for more than four minutes. Baumgartner landed on his feet in the New Mexico desert, according to the Associated Press.

He became the first man to reach supersonic speed without being in a jet or a spacecraft, the Associated Press reported.

Right before jumping, Baumgartner delivered a message, the New York Times reported. "I know the whole world is watching, and I wish the whole world could see what I see. Sometimes you have to go up really high to understand how small you really are," he said.

Millions watched the jump in real time thanks to a live broadcast on The Discovery Channel and online. Baumgartner, a record-setting high-altitude jumper, said this was his final jump, according to the Associated Press.

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This page is an archive of entries from October 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

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