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March 29, 2007

Arrest of Webb aide highlights conflict between Captiol and District gun laws

It is lawful to carry a gun into the United States Capitol, and it is even lawful to load it, but District of Colombia gun laws strictly ban the transport of hand guns on city streets, according to the Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/28/AR2007032802384.html?reload=true).
Phillip Thompson, aide to Virginia Senator Jim Webb, was arrested Monday for carrying a loaded pistol into the Capitol building. Thompson was arrested after police spotted the loaded pistol he was carrying in his briefcase. Thompson said he was carrying the weapon for Webb. He has been charged on an account of carrying a firearm without a license.
According to police, it is only lawful for congressmen to ask police officials to escort weapons into the building. Staff members are also only allowed to carry unloaded guns. Congress members can have loaded guns, but only in their offices.
Webb denies ever having carried a gun into the Capitol building. Congress members do not have to pass through metal detectors.
District law says that citizens can only keep rifles and shotguns within the confines of their home. It is also illegal to transport weapons from Virginia to Maryland by way of the District of Colombia.
Webb also denied a claim that he gave the gun to Thompson for safe-keeping before entering an airport.
According to an AP report, Thompson plead not guilty to gun charges on Tuesday (http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,,-6513207,00.html).
Thompson and his attorney had no comment.

I thought the Washington Post article was expertly handled. The writer took a legalistic approach, emphasizing the conflict between District and Capitol law. This set up many interesting facts and disparities that were both entertaining and enlightening. I also like how the writer added the context of Virginia gun law to show allude to why Webb and Thompson think this way about gun control. The lead works brilliantly by dodging the main story everyone has already heard, and providing the fact that congressmen can load guns in their offices. I was also amazed that congressmen don't need to pass through metal detectors. If there was one thing the article missed, it was the specific details about Thompson's court procedings. The AP article took a straight-forward news approach. It dealt with the facts very concisely and focused on the legal actions. I thought it could've developed the descrepancy between Thompson and Webb's claims in a more thorough way.

March 27, 2007

Infant's body found in river near Red Wing

A dead baby was found along the banks of the Mississippi River near Red Wing Monday, the third instance in less than a decade, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press (http://www.twincities.com/localnews/ci_5527196).
The infant, who was a newborn, was found by an employee of Treasure Island Resort and Casino in the company's marina while preparing for the upcoming boating season.
Visual examinations of the body show no signs of trauma. Authorities are waiting for an autopsy to determine the baby's age and how long it had been in the water. The sex and ethnicity of the infant have not been released.
This is the third infant since 1999 to be found in the river near Red Wing. A baby girl in 1999 and a baby boy in 2003 were also discovered. As of now, neither of those cases have been solved. Neither child has been identified.
Anyone found guilty of placing a newborn in the river faced severe criminal prosecution.
According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, authorities said in the previous two cases, they followed hundreds of leads, but they went nowhere (http://www.startribune.com/462/story/1081077.html).

The Press article was very confusing and poorly written in a few places. I found it interesting how both stories focused on the fact that this was the third case of infants found in the river, rather than the actual discovery of the infant. To me, Monday's discovery is more important. Three babies in less than 10 years may be an anomaly, but I don't see that as the main story. It should definitely be included, but not as thoroughly as it is here. Also, I didn't like how in the Press story, the description of a man discovering the baby is followed by a quote from a police officer. It was confusing because I expected a quote from the man. I also thought if they were gonna focus on the anomaly of three infants in under a decade, they should've talked about infants found in other spots in the river. I thought the Tribune article was even worse because it went directly from the lead into the fact that this is the third one. Not until much later was the description of the baby's discovery brought up, which had much more news value.

Several of Earth's climates to be drastically altered by 2100

A new global warming study predicts that several climate zones, such as those in Austrailia, Indonesia, and Amazonia, will disappear by 2100, according to an Irish Examiner story (http://www.irishexaminer.com/irishexaminer/pages/story.aspx-qqqg=sport-qqqm=sport-qqqa=sport-qqqid=28809-qqqx=1.asp).
Scientists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change also said that new climates unlike any present today are likely to emerge.
The results of the climate shifts upon the ecosystem, including plants and the human population, are unpredictable. Scientists warn that many plant and animal species could be wiped out. The climate changes were predicted using computer models based on greenhouse gas emission forecasts among other forecasts.
The current climates of the Peruvian Andes, Siberia, and southern Austrailia are all predicted to disappear. New climates are predicted to appear predominantly in tropical regions.
About 39% of the earth's surface could consist of new climate zones while 48% of current climates could completely disappear assuming carbon emissions stay at current levels.
The study also said even if emissions are cut, about 20% of current climates could be eliminated.
According to an AP report, tropics have little change in temperature (http://news.bostonherald.com/national/view.bg?articleid=190986). Therefore, a temperature increase of only 3 degrees might have a strong impact in an area not used to weather changes.
Right now, scientists are unsure exactly how the climate changes will affect animal species, but drastic change is almost inevitable.

Both of these articles are very similar. The Examiner article begins by mentioning the most eye-opening finding of the story. It spends the most of the article talking about the disappearance of climates and the emergence of unknown ones. It also is careful to cite the study and specific scientists. The article does a good job separating facts in the study from hypotheses. I thought the article could've done a little better job explaining how the climates will disappear. The AP used a very familiar formula. I found it interesting how both articles didn't mention the name of the panel until the third paragraph, something I might have pushed higher into the story. The AP article did a slightly better job explaining the process of climate change, although it is still fairly vague. One thing I didn't like was the fact the story closed with two quotes back-to-back that didn't do much to highlight the findings or central theme of the story.

March 26, 2007

Minnesota National Guard member killed in Iraq

Minnesota National Guard member Greg Riewer died Friday on patrol in Iraq near Fallujah, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune (http://www.startribune.com/462/story/1077920.html). Riewer was the 12th member of the Minnesota guard to die in Iraq, after his vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb.
Three other members of his Minnesota unit were injured in the explosion. Their names and medical conditions have not been released.
Riewer was a 1997 graduate of Frazee High School, near Detroit Lakes. He enlisted shortly after high school, and had served in Bosnia as well as Iraq. His unit's tour of duty had recently been extended.
Riewer was single with no children. He had five sisters and seven brothers, one named Andrew who is still serving in his unit.
According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Riewer's parents said he was a quiet son who enjoyed hunting and sports (http://www.twincities.com/localnews/ci_5515504).
His father said Greg loved the feel of freedom on his motorcycle.
Funeral arrangements are pending.

The Tribune article took a very straightforward, formulaic approach to the story. It started with the fact he died, said what he was known for, talking about the causes of his death, broke down into a chronology, and talked about his family and funeral arrangements. I thought the personal memories of Greg at the end of the story felt forced. They should have been integrated into the theme of the story better. I really didn't like the Press story. The lead editorializes his death and comes off a political posturing. Although I agree this war has no end in sight, it feels unfair to the family to say that Greg should have been back home. I also thought it was interesting that the Press said he was the 47th member of the armed forces from Minnesota to die in Iraq while the Tribune said he was the 12th from the Minnesota Guard. The Press article did, however, work better quotes about Riewer as a person into the article.

March 22, 2007

Senate Panel authorizes subpoenas of White House aides in prosecutor firings inquiry

Following a similar ruling in the House Judiciary Committee, a Senate panel agreed Thursday to authorize subpoenas for top White House aides, including Karl Rove, involved in the firing of several federal prosecutors, according to an AP report (http://news.bostonherald.com/politics/view.bg?articleid=190150&format=&page=1).
The decision by the Senate Judiciary Committee was a reaction to the President Bush's offer to grant a few officials to testify, as long as they were not under oath and the interviews weren't public. So far no subpoenas have been issued, but this will now be a bargaining chip for Congress.
Several Republican think the subpoenas are premature in the investigation, but some do support them.
Attorney General Roberto Gonzales said he'd cooperate with Congress, but reiterated he has no plans to step down despite calls from many Democrats to do so.
White House Press Secretary Tony Snow said that if the testimony becomes public, the proceedings will become too political and subject to TV drama-type pandering.
Republican Senator Arlen Specter is attempting to work a compromise, where officials would testify publicly, but not under oath.
According to the New York Times, Tony Snow also indicated that the White House will challenge any subpoena submitted (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/22/washington/22cnd-attorney.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1&hp).
Gonzales has reiterated that none of the federal prosecutors were fired due to ongoing investigations. Seven of the 8 federal prosecutors were fired last December. Democrats raised questions after e-mails linked to top White House officials called for the removal of prosecutors were not "loyal Bushies." Several of the prosecutors were highly successful with strong performance ratings. Some have speculated that many were fired due to political motivated reasons and also due to corruption investigations they were prosecuting.

One interesting similarity between these articles was that both articles put Karl Rove in the lead, although he wasn't mentioned very much in each article. It is probably due to the fact that Rove's name ellicits a strong reaction from many readers. The AP story tries to dissect the spectrum of opinions on the issue, balancing quotes from Democrats, White House officials, and Republican in Congress, which support the subpoenas in varying degrees. I liked the fact the article didn't look at this as just a two-sided issue, but a complex grouping of disparate opinions.
The one thing I didn't like was that both articles didn't provide a good enough background into the context of the story. I wanted to know more about the acutal firings and why they were so controversial. Also, I wish they gave a better idea of what the President's power is in hiring and firing attorneys. Why can the President fire federal prosecutors? How did he get this power? Has it always been this way? The Times article functioned in a very similar way, using quotes from several lawmakers to balance the issue and present the spectrum of ideas.

St. Paul third-grader suspended after bringing marijuana to school

A St. Paul third-grader who brought a small bag of marijuana to school on Monday was suspended, according to a Minneapolis Star Tribune report (http://www.startribune.com/462/story/1068073.html).
The third-grader, who attends the Benjamin E. Mays Magnet for Communication Arts and Leadership on the 500 block of Concordia, had been showing the pot to friends when police officers were called to the school, according to a police report.
According to the boy's mother, the pot might have come from a friend who dropped it off at their house.
No arrests have been made and the police have said that no signs of negligence were or ever have been present.
According to a St. Paul Pioneer Press report, the case has been referred to the Ramsey County Child Protection Services (http://www.twincities.com/localnews/ci_5482361).
According to a St. Paul Public School spokesman, the student will be suspended according to policy, but didn't specify the length.

The Tribune focuses on the suspension more than the Press article, which merely states the child brought the pot to school. I also found it interesting that the Tribune article put the school in the lead while the Press didn't. I think it was a better decision to move the school title out of the lead, especially because it is such a long name. One thing about the Press article I didn't like was the end quote. It was very bland, unoriginal, and didn't highlight the novelty of the story. The Tribune did a nice job sourcing its information from police reports and officials. If I had one problem with both of these articles it was that they didn't develop the stories further enough. I would've liked to know more about how the child got caught or how he managed to identify marijuana in the first place.

March 20, 2007

House committee testimony shows weakening of climate reports

Documents released by a House Committee Monday showed alterations of climate reports to downplay the human role in global warming by a former White House official, according to the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/20/washington/20climate.html).
Phillip A. Cooney, the former chief of staff of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, who was a oil industry lobbyist, testified in front of the committee. Cooney claimed the changes he made were part of the normal White House review process and reflected changes made to earlier climate reports.
Cooney had no scientific background.
Dr. James E. Hansen, a NASA climate official who had attempted to be silenced by former Bush aide George C. Deutsch III, said at the committee that editing reports and silencing scientists muddied the public debate.
Representative Henry A. Waxman of California said the documents revealed a systematic White House effort to minimize the significance of global climate change.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the documents showed more than 181 changes made to a strategic plan on global climate change (http://www.smh.com.au/news/environment/scientists-muzzled-congress-told/2007/03/20/1174153066947.html).
Cooney has denied the changes were directly cooridinated with the White House but he was in contact with an unnamed, senior White House aide. Dr. Hansen did admit that editing like this occurred in previous administrations but to a much lesser extent.

The New York Times article focuses more on the political aspects and less on the scientific. I found it interesting that Cooney came off much more defensive and less cooperative in the Times than in the Herald. I thought the Times article did a much better job of providing background for each of the major players. However the Herald did a better job explaining the actual changes made to the reports. I also found it interesting that Cooney was the central character in the Times article while Hansen was in the Herald article. I thought the Herald article had a much better flow. The Times article begins to bog down near the end, getting wrapped too much in partisanship.

78 killed in mining explosion in Siberia

Seventy-eight people died in a methane explosion in a coal mine in Siberia, with another 50 people still missing, according to an AP report (http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/world/4644122.html).
Up to 200 people were in the mine when the explosion occurred. So far at least 75 people have been rescued. Company officials and safety experts are among the missing in the worst Russian mining disaster in a decade.
Rescuers were checking open sections of the mine for survivors and have been in contact with some of the trapped survivors.
The mine is located in the city Novokuznetsk, where two of the deadliest mine disasters have occurred in the past decade.
This mine was partially owned by Evraz SA, a large conglomerate that government officials have accused of cutting corners to save money. The chairman of the Indepedent Coal Miner's Union said the miners may have encountered a pocket of methane and he suggested the need to develop safety methods to deal with these problems.
Some have suggested that the miners may have been careless due to quota systems that force them to work faster and harvest more coal.
According to a Bloomburg report, the Russian government will set up a state commission to investigate the explosion (http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601085&sid=a5zmxhvgysCU&refer=europe).
The region were the explosion occurred produces 56% of Russia's coal. A similar accident in the area occured in February 2005.

I thought the AP story took the wrong focus. The important thing to me is the deaths and the people still trapped in the mine. The story had very little information about the people rescued or the efforts to get the people still trapped. There wasn't a human face on the story. It tried to divide its time between a story about the explosion and a story about coal mining problems throughout all of Russia. I felt the U.S. comparison was unnecessary. Even by looking at the lead you can see that the explosion is more important than the fact that 78 people died. And I also thought it was unfair that the only specific deaths mentioned were that of a British man and his interpreter. The story's quotes were used well, but they were more fitting to a story about the whole system of coal mining in Russia, not a specific, developing story about a mining explosion. The Bloomburg story had similar problems. It only spent the first three graphs on the actual explosion and rescue mention. Later it bogs down into the broad context of Russia's coal mining industry. These facts all seem really inconsequential.

March 19, 2007

Three students killed in attack on Thai school

Three students were killed in an attack on an Islamic school in southern Thailand Saturday night, according to an AP report (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/03/18/world/main2581686.shtml).
Seven students were also injured after attackers threw explosives and opened fire on the school dormitory in Thailand's Songkhla province.
Thai police have blamed the attack on Islamic insurgents, explaining the attack as an attempt to get the villagers to support their cause against the military. The villagers believe the attack was led by the police and the military.
More than 500 protesters gathered Sunday morning protesting the violence. The deceased, a 12-year-old and two 14 year olds, were carried through the crowd.
Thailand's southern provinces have thousands of Islamic schools. Police believe some of these school harbor insurgents.
According to a BBC report, there are several paramilitary organizations operating in southern Thailand (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/6463565.stm).
There has been an upsurge in violence in the south following the military-led coup in Thailand last September. Thailand, although a predominantly Buddhist country, is heavily Islamic in its southern provinces, which are more closely associated to the Malays and Indonesians.

The AP story begins with a strong "what" lead, describing the attack. The events of the attack lead into Sunday's protests, and then the story breaks down into the perspectives of who is responsible for the deaths. I didn't like the fact that only quotes by police and military officials were used, while the villagers remained an anonymous mob in the story. I thought the story could have also brought in relatives or friends of the deceased. I also thought the added context of previous attacks at the end was unclear and confusing. The BBC lead wasn't as effective, using very simple, static language to describe the attack. There is less focus on the protests here. The story similiarly brings up the conflict between the villagers and the police. However, it does give a better idea of the villager perspective, but it does it through paraphrasing a BBC reporter, which I did not like. One thing the BBC article did very well was put the attacks in a more concise, crisp historical context.

March 9, 2007

Man killed in drug deal gone awry

A man died in shooting Wednesday evening after a drug deal went awry on St. Paul's West Side, according to a Minneapolis Star Tribune report (http://www.startribune.com/467/story/1040980.html).
Robert Renville, 20, was shot while riding in a car shortly after 6 p.m. near the intersection of Ohio and Stevens Streets, according to police. Renville was taken to Regions Hospital shortly after where he died.
Several shots were fired into the car, and two of the other people riding were also injured.
According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Livon Lucket, 19, was shot in the leg and Russell Robinson, 40, was shot in the arm (http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/news/local/16856534.htm).
Lamont Wilson, 24, was arrested by police on suspicion of homicide.
Police officials had originally thought this was a gang related crime, but after further investigation concluded that the violence had been related to a drug deal gone bad.

Both of these articles were very similar. I thought it was interesting that the Press article focused on the fact that police had determined that it wasn't gang-related, putting that fact in the lead. I later realized that there have been several gang-related crimes in the last few weeks in St. Paul, which makes for the confusion. However, I still don't know that this fact merits lead status. I think the details of the murder should get the most attention. Both articles were a little light on the details, particularly the Tribune article, which excluded everybody's name except Renville.

3M executives quizzed by congressional panel on chemical pollution

Executives from Minnesota-based corporation 3M were questioned Tuesday by a panel of government officials concerning chemicals manufacturing by the company, which were discovered in local groundwater supplies, according to a Minneapolis Star Tribune report (http://www.startribune.com/462/story/1035952.html).
The chemicals, which used to be manufactured by 3M, have been detected in public wells, especially near areas where 3M used to dump the chemicals between 1956 and 1974. Some of the areas infected include Lake Elmo, Woodbury, Cottage Grove, and St. Paul Park.
The Minnesota State Health Department recently lowered the maximum levels on the chemicals acceptable in the water supply. Legislators have tried to establish many bills increasing the restrictions.
3M executives countered by saying that the amount of chemicals in the supply was neglible and would have no health effects. 3M officials also said they would not offer filtration systems or bottled water to affected areas because the water poses no threat.
According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, a study found that one of the chemicals, PFBA, caused enlarged livers in rats when they were exposed to extremely high doses for a month (http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/news/16847622.htm). The study also showed that the threshold of no effect on the rats was 420,000 times more potent than the current amount in the water supply.
3M is beginning a 90-day study to get fuller results on the effect of the chemicals. The EPA is also studying the effect.
The chemicals in question came were used to create Teflon, photographic film, and Scotchguard.

The Tribune article focuses heavily on the debate itself, between Congress and 3M. Its lead is very uneffectively however because it does little to grab attention or illuminate the entire theme of the article. It's merely another quote that just as easily could've come later in the story. I also thought the article failed to explain the studies and effects of the chemical. The Press article did this well, focusing more on the aspect of the story. It was almost an overload here. I also thought the Press story was somewhat biased to the perspective of 3M, presenting their perspective much more frequently. The lead of the story is 3M's perspective, and even though the science may support them, I think there is a more evenhanded way to present it.

March 7, 2007

Man crashes plane in ex-in-law's house, killing himself and daughter

An Indiana pilot and his 8-year-old daughter both died in a plane crash Monday, after crashing a small aircraft into the home of the pilot's ex-mother-in-law in what police are calling a murder suicide, according to a Reuters report (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/category/story.cfm?c_id=30&objectid=10427429).
Police said that shortly after the crash, the girl's mother reported her daughter missing when she didn't arrive at school after spending the weekend with her father, Eric Johnson, 47. Police speculate that Eric Johnson abducted his daughter after the two spent the weekend together on vacation.
Eric Johnson had recently divorced his wife, Beth Johnson, and they shared joint custody over their daughter Emily.
According to an AP report, Beth Johnson recieved a phone call from her ex-husband saying she'd never get Emily back (http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/1110AP_Plane_Hits_Home.html). This call was made shortly before the crash, but it is unknown whether it was made in the air or not.
The police are searching for notes and clues explaining Eric Johnson intentions. Investigators are also looking into whether or not the plane was functioning properly.
Beth Johnson and her husband divorced in November, a few months after she filed a restraining order against him for threatening him with a gun.
Toxicology tests on Eric Johnson have not been completed. No one in the home was injured during the crash.

The Reuters report is a straight news story that just scratches the surface, but it does do a nice job to cover the main points of the story. It supports most of its information with the police report. The AP article, uses many more quotes, and gathers outside information, to put the story into a little more context. The lede here is a quote, and in this case I think it's a fairly effective one. It quotes Vivian Pace, the mother-in-law who's house was crashed into, several times. Beth's story is told through her, most likely because reporters didn't wanted to overwhelm Beth. This article does a great job near the end, compiling details of the Johnson's marriage and divorce to offer insight into the incident without making any accusations. I thoroughly enjoyed the AP article.

March 6, 2007

Bush OKs aid programs for Latin America

President Bush said he plans to send tens of millions of dollars in aid to improve education, housing and healthcare in Latin America, according to an AP report (http://www.guardian.co.uk/uslatest/story/0,,-6459596,00.html).
Bush also said that poverty in the region has become a scandal that has increased disbelief in democracy. Bush gave this speech amid criticism that he has ignored Latin America.
The speech came three days before the president leaves for a trip to Brazil, Uruguay, Colombia, Guatemala and Mexico.
Since taking office, Bush has doubled Latin American spending to $1.6 billion a year. However, much of this money has been relegated to military and anti-narcotic programs.
Some of the aid's provisions include a health care professional training center in Panama, $75 million in increasing education in English speaking, and $385 million to make housing more affordable.
According to a BBC report, some say the aid is in response to the election of many leftist leaders in Latin America, many that are critical of the U.S. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6421701.stm).
One in four people in the region live on less than $2 a day and many children never finish grade school, Bush said.

One thing that stood out about the AP report was the fact that they mentioned the "why" in the lead, which I thought was out of place. It undermines the fact that the aid was being given away, and it also shifts focus away from Latin America and lavishes it on Bush. The story was structured well, placing the Bush quotes up front and getting quotes from other experts in response later on to add context. The one thing the article lacked was dissenting opinion. There has to be someone critical of this plan. The BBC article had a straightforward "who" lead, as is common with stories focusing on Bush. This article didn't have any sources besides Bush, which I disliked, but it was just a brief account of the main outline of the speech. If I may editorialize, I think both of these articles somewhat fail because they focus so much on the small details. It might be naive to think these articles should question the conventional wisdom, but I personally have become very cynical toward development aid programs like this. Aid, I have learned, is never free and there are always hidden costs that keep the rich in power and the poor struggling to get by.

March 5, 2007

Coon Rapids soldier killed in Iraq by bomb blast

A U.S. soldier originally from Oklahoma, who lived in Coon Rapids, Minnesota, was killed in an explosion in Iraq Monday, according to an AP report (http://www.startribune.com/462/story/1031703.html).
Army Sgt. William "B.J." Beardsley, 25, a Muskogee native, was on his second tour of duty when he was killed, according to the Department of Defense. Beardsley joined the military at age 18 and had previously served in South Korea and Fort Campbell, Ky.
He had lived in Coon Rapids for a while to work with his father as a landscape contractor, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press (http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_action=doc&p_docid=117A483AF302EA08&p_docnum=1
He re-inlisted, in part, in order to pay for his wife's medical bills. She was released from the hospital the day he died.
A memorial service will be planned for the Twin Cities, although Beardsley will be buried in Indiana where his widow and two children now live.
Beardsley is the 45th member of the military from Minnesota to die in Iraq.

The AP article was a very standard news story, but I thought it was unfilling just because it was so dry and stereotypical. It did have a nice usage of quotes though. I simply thought the Press article was brilliant. The lead was great, starting with the image of Beardsley's wife returning from the hospital, and shortly after, being informed of his death. The article uses quotes from several family members, friends and associates that helps flesh out and humanize the story, giving it a perfectly affecting tone. It also documented Beardsley's military journey in better details. The only thing both articles were missing was the circumstances of Beardsley's death in Iraq. It does seem relevant, if not entirely essential. One thing that stood out was the fact that the AP article said Beardsley divorced his wife, but there was no mention of that in the Press article. I also was wondering why one article ended by saying he was the 52nd member to die in Iraq and Afghanistan while another said he was the 45th to die in Iraq. I just thought it was curious.

third night of riots in Copenhagen

Dozens of protesters were arrested Sunday in Copenhagen, Denmark in the third straight night of public upheaval, according to an AP report (http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=2922021&page=1).
The protests have been triggered by the eviction of squattors from a notable youth center in Copenhagen. The violence Sunday did not reach the levels of the previous two nights. Over 600 arrests total have been made in the unrest.
An anti-terror squad evicted the squatters three days ago. The "Youth Center" had been a safe-haven for leftists for many years. Vladimir Lenin had stayed there, and world famous musicians Bjork and Nick Cave performed there.
The eviciton was planned last year. Six years ago the Copenhagen City Council purchased the building, and last year had sold it to a Christian organization.
The protests mark the largest upheaval in Denmark since the 1993 protests of a European Union referendum.
According to The Independent, 140 foreigners were among the arrested, including several Swedes and some Americans (http://news.independent.co.uk/europe/article2328814.ece).

The AP article begins with a brief description of Sunday's violence before going into the background of the story. It gives some interesting history of the youth center and also provides solid context for the last three days of rioting. The one thing I did not like was the lack of quotes in the article, particularly from the side of the protesters. The descriptions were detailed, but it lacked a human perspective. The Independent's article was very similar. It focused even less on Sunday's violence, bringing up the total figures on the riots in the second paragraph. This article also gave really good background information, but also lacked the personal viewpoint. Also, both article's left me with many questions. Do the protests look like they are dying down? What is the damage to community infrastructure? Who are these people protesting? Leftist-sympathizer is too narrow of a label.

March 1, 2007

St. Paul approves ban on toy guns

The St. Paul City Council unanimously banned realistic-looking guns Wednesday, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press (http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/16804073.htm).
Mayor Chris Coleman commended the ban, saying the ruling is testament to the city's concern for public safety.
The ban doesn't include water guns or obvious toys. It bans pellet guns and Airsoft guns, or requires that they are brightly painted.
These realistic-looking guns have often been involved in police shootings, where officers mistook them for real weapons.
According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, it will be a misdemeanor to public display these weapons (http://www.startribune.com/462/story/1031077.html).

The Pioneer Press article is a straight-forward news story. It's very short, only offering the quote from Chris Coleman as support. I thought it should've discussed the chronology of what led up to this ban. It also wasn't clear what the penalty was for carrying the weapons. The Tribune article was also very short, although it focused more on the City Council action then discussing the reasons for the ban. This article was missing the voices of the people who voted on the ban and the voices of the industry affected by this decision.