Recently in National News Category

T-Mobile to distribute iPhone

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T-Mobile USA, the only major U.S. wireless carrier that doesn't offer the iPhone, will begin distributing it next year, news sources report.

T-Mobile executives have said that not carrying the iPhone has contributed to T-Mobile losing valuable contract customers to its competitors. T-Mobile said the agreement with Apple fills a key competitive gap, the Wall Street Journal reported.

"We have now added the final piece to the jigsaw to boost the competitiveness of T-Mobile USA sustainably," Rene Obermann, chairman of T-Mobile's parent company Deutsche Telekom, said, as the Wall Street Journal reported.

Already, 1.7 million iPhones run on the T-Mobile network. The AT&T version of the iPhone can work on T-Mobile because it runs on similar network technology, but because the wireless frequencies are different, using the iPhone on T-Mobile's network tends to be a much slower experience, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The terms of the deal with Apple were not announced. New T-Mobile CEO John Legere said that the launch of the iPhone would occur in "several months," CNN reported.

The terms of T-Mobile's iPhone deal with Apple were not announced. Legere said the agreement will be profitable by 2014 because T-Mobile will not offer subsidies on the phone, CNN reported.

Romney and Obama have lunch together at White House

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Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney and President Obama shared an hour-long lunch at the White House Thursday, news sources report.

Romney wished the president well on the next four years and congratulated Obama on a successful campaign, the White House said, as the Washington Post reported.

The two also pledged to explore future opportunities to work together, the Washington Post reported.

An appeal Wednesday from Fox News correspondent Ed Henry asking for the lunch to be open to the media for photos and video was declined by White House Press secretary Jay Carney, USA Today reported.

Each man wanted to have a private conversation," Carney said. "They did not want to turn it into a press event," he said, as USA Today reported.

There are no plans to offer Romney a position in the administration, Carney said, as the Washington Post reported.

Before going to the White House, Romney met Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), his former vice presidential running mate, on Capitol Hill, USA Today reported.

"I remain grateful to Governor Romney for the honor of joining his ticket this fall," Ryan said in a statement. "I'm proud of the principles and ideas we advanced during the campaign and the commitment we share to expanding opportunity and promoting economic security for American families," he said, as USA Today reported.

Twinkies maker Hostess going out of business

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Hostess Brands Inc. said Friday it had suspended operations at all of its 33 plants around the United States and is moving to liquidate assets, news sources report.

The brand is bankrupt and said it had requested court permission to go out of business after a strike of its bakery workers. The company had asked for court permission to get wage and benefit cuts for the striking workers, CNN reported.

Hostess said a strike by members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union that began last week had made it unable to produce and deliver products at several facilities and that this was the crippling blow to its struggle with bankruptcy, LA Times reported.

Hostess has about $2.5 billion in sales from a long list of iconic consumer brands of snack cakes and breads, CNN reported.

"We'll be selling the brands and as much of the infrastructure as we can," company spokesman Lance Ignon said. "There is value in the brands," Ignon said, as LA Times reported.

Hostess said the liquidation means that most of the 18,500 employees will lose their jobs, CNN reported.

Hostess had told employees that they had to return to work on Thursday, but the union did not give in, saying it had already given far more in concessions than workers could bear, LA Times reported.

Union officials blamed mismanagement for the company's problems. Hostess has 565 distribution centers and 570 bakery outlet stores, as well as the 33 bakeries. Its brands include Wonder, Nature's Pride, Dolly Madison, Drake's, Butternut, Home Pride and Merita. The company's claim to fame is its cream-filled cake, Twinkies, CNN reported.

"We do not have the financial resources to weather an extended nationwide strike," Chief Executive Officer Gregory Rayburn said in a statement. "Hostess Brands will move promptly to lay off most of its 18,500-member workforce and focus on selling its assets to the highest bidders," LA Times reported.

U.S. Navy Seals reprimanded for disclosing secrets

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Seven members of an elite U.S. Navy SEAL team have been punished for revealing classified material while helping produce a videogame, news sources report.

The seven special operations forces worked for two days this spring and summer as paid consultants on the videogame "Medal of Honor," released by gamemaker Electronic Arts Inc., a Navy official said, speaking under the condition of anonymity, as The Guardian reports.

Of the seven special operations forces, one participated in the raid that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden earlier this year. All seven are members of the elite SEAL Team Six. Two are senior chief special operators and five are chief special operators, Reuters reports.

The Navy Seals sign non-disclosure agreements upon entry into service and when they leave. For these alleged allegations, each of the seven people received a letter of reprimand and a partial elimination of pay for two months, Reuters reports.

"We do not tolerate deviations from the policies that govern who we are and what we do as sailors in the United States Navy," Rear Admiral Garry Bonelli said in a statement. These punishments "send a clear message throughout our force that we are and will be held to a high standard of accountability," he said, The Guardian reports.

The two main charges against the Seals are that they did not get the permission of their command to take part in the videogame project and that they showed the video designers their specially designed combat equipment, which is a design that only their unit uses, a senior military official said, as Reuters reports.

This story was first reported by CBS News, Reuters reports.

Boy dies after falling off railing at Pittsburgh Zoo

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A 2-year-old boy was killed after he fell 11 feet off a railing at the Pittsburgh Zoo that his mother had put him on to see a pack of African painted dogs, news sources report.

After the boy fell into the pen, the wild dogs pounced and mauled him. Police said they were not sure if the cause of the boy's death was the fall or the dogs' attack, the Associated Press reported.

The names of the child and mother have not been released. She is 34 and lives outside Pittsburgh, NBC News reported.

When the child fell, zookeepers called off the dogs, and seven went into a back building. Three more moved away from the boy eventually, but the last dog would not come into the building, and police had to shoot it, Barbara Baker, chief executive of the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium told the Associated Press.

The dogs are the size of medium domestic dogs, 2 to 2 1/2 feet high and 37 to 80 pounds. This type of dog is also considered endangered, NBC News reported.

Lt. Kevin Kraus of the Pittsburgh police described the accident as "horrific," the Associated Press reported.

Police and the Allegheny Council medical examiner's office are investigating the incident. Baker also told the Associated Press that the zoo, which had never had a visitor death, plans an internal investigation.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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