December 10, 2007

Canadian Serial Killer finally Found Guilty

According to the USA Today, “A pig farmer accused of being Canada's worst serial killer was found guilty Sunday of six counts of second-degree murder, which carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison. The verdict ended the trial of Robert 'Willie' Pickton on the first six of 26 murder charges in the deaths of women, most of them prostitutes and drug addicts from a seedy Vancouver neighborhood. Pickton listened to the verdict with his head bowed. He will receive a mandatory sentence of life in prison and will not be eligible for parole for at least 10 years. The jury was deliberating Sunday whether to extend that 10-year period.? Prosecutors have said Pickton will be tried for the 20 other murder charges but no date has been set. Last week, Judge James Williams reviewed the transcript of a videotape in which Pickton is heard telling an undercover police officer that he had planned to kill one more woman before stopping at 50, taking a break and then killing another 25 women.?

According to the Vancouver Sun, Convicted serial killer Robert (Willie) Pickton will learn Tuesday how long he will serve in jail for the murder of six women who disappeared from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside between 1997 and 2001. Pickton, 58, was found guilty earlier today of six counts of second-degree murder, not first-degree murder as he was charged.? He is facing another 20 counts of first-degree murder at a second trial, although no date has been set. First-degree murder means it was a planned and deliberate murder or a murder in the course of a sexual assault or the killing of a police officer. Second-degree murder includes all other murders that are not first-degree, but usually involves murders that do not involve forethought and planning.

The USA Today article had the essential information but did not have near the detail that the Vancouver Sun did. The Sun described more about what it was like inside the courtroom and had more about the women he killed. This was kind of a disturbing story, but really interesting. This is the kind of killer they would make horror movies about.

December 3, 2007

Man Dies of Bird Flu in China

According to the USA Today, A man in the southern Chinese province of Jiangsu has died of bird flu, becoming the country's 17th officially reported fatality from the disease, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Monday.? The 24-year-old, whose surname was given as Lu, died at a hospital Sunday with test confirming the difficult-to-treat H5N1 virus. “According to the Jiangsu Provincial Disease Control and Prevention Center, the man had no known contact with dead poultry, and there were no reported outbreaks of bird flu in the province. He developed chills, fever and other symptoms on Nov. 24 and was hospitalized three days later, it said. H5N1, which has sickened at least 328 people worldwide, killing 200 of them, according to the World Health Organization. Experts have warned that if poultry outbreaks are not controlled, the virus may mutate into a form more easily passed between people, potentially resulting in millions of deaths.?

According to the China Daily News, “A man in east China's Jiangsu province died of bird flu on Sunday, the provincial health department reported. The 24-year-old man, surnamed Lu, developed fever, chills and other symptoms on November 24 and was hospitalized on November 27 after being diagnosed "lower left pneumonia". Lu's illness deteriorated in the hospital and died on Sunday.? An examination showed he was positive for the H5N1 virus. Jiangsu Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Bureau said no bird flu epidemic has been found in the province so far.

These two had the same information, but the USA Today included more statistics.

November 19, 2007

Whale Stranded Again in Amazon

According to the USA Today, “An 18-foot whale that entered the Amazon River and swam about 1,000 miles upstream has been trapped for a second time on a sandbar, Brazilian news media reported Sunday.? Residents spotted the minke whale just a few miles from where it was freed Friday. Dozens of people have gathered along the river, splashing water on its exposed back and dorsal fin. “The minke whale is the second smallest of the baleen whales after the pygmy right whale. There are an estimated 184,000 minke whales in the central and northeast Atlantic Ocean.?

According to BBC News, “A 5.5m long minke whale has been spotted more than 1600km (994 miles) from the Atlantic Ocean, deep inside the Amazon rain forest. It is the second time this week in Brazil that a lost animal has been spotted in an unexpected location. Local people had been splashing water on the whale's back and fin while it was exposed to the hot Amazon sun. While it is not unprecedented, it is unusual for whales to venture so far into fresh water.?

The USA Today article was easier to read because it told the story rather than just listing facts. Also, I think the USA Today reported on more recent happenings because it said it was the second time this whale was stranded.

November 11, 2007

Russian Tanker Spills 2,200 Tons of Oil

According to the USA Today, “A Russian oil tanker broke in two in a storm in the Black Sea Sunday, spilling some 2,200 tons of fuel oil into the Kerch Strait and posing a serious environmental problem, officials said. The tanker, Volganeft-139, broke about three miles from the shore. A regional prosecutor, said an apparent reason for the spil was its flimsy design, not built to withstand a fierce storm. Another Russian ship carrying more than 2,000 tons of sulfur also sank in the Kerch strait Sunday, but the cargo did not present an environmental threat, officials said.

According to the Miami Herald, “Massive waves split a Russian oil tanker in two during a fierce storm Sunday, spilling at least 560,000 gallons of fuel into a strait leading to the Black Sea. It was the worst environmental disaster in the region in years, and some officials said could take years to clean up.? The 18-foot waves also sank two Russian freighters nearby carrying 7,150 tons of sulfur. “In total, as many as ten ships sank or ran aground in the Strait of Kerch and in the nearby area of the Black Sea, and reports said three other sailors were dead or missing.? Officials say captains were warned about the stormy conditions and that the oil tanker wasn’t built to withstand a fierce storm.

The Miami Herald had pretty much all of the same information as the USA Today, just with more detail. Perhaps the Herald article is a follow up of what was published in the USA Today, or the USA Today took only parts of the Herald article to print.

November 5, 2007

King Tut's Face Unveiled to the World

According to the USA Today, “King Tut’s buck-toothed face was unveiled Sunday for the first time in public -- more than 3,000 years after the youngest and most famous pharaoh to rule ancient Egypt was shrouded in linen and buried in his golden underground tomb. Archeologists carefully lifted the fragile mummy out of a quartz sarcophagus decorated with stone-carved protective goddesses, momentarily pulling aside a beige covering to reveal a leathery black body.? Scientists began restoring the badly damaged mummy more than two years ago. It was discovered 85 years ago, when archaeologist Howard Carter took it from its tomb. Experts fear the mummy’s exposure could dissolve the mummy’s face into dust in the next 50 years. A CT scan was done, concluding that he badly broke his left thigh before he died around 1323 B.C. The mummy will be on display throughout the world, beginning in London Nov. 15.

According to the BBC, “The face of Egypt's most famous ancient ruler, King Tutankhamun, has been put on public display for the first time. Archaeologists took the mummy from its stone sarcophagus and placed it in a climate-controlled case inside his tomb in Luxor's Valley of the Kings.? His face was revealed 85 years to the day after the the pharaoh's tomb was discovered by British explorer Howard Carter. Tutankhamun ruled Egypt from 1333-1324 BC and is believed to have ascended to the throne aged about nine. Many have speculated about his cause of death, but researchers believe he was not brutally murdered.

The USA Today’s article was much more detailed and focused more on the actual news value.

October 29, 2007

Germany May Face New Speed Limits

According to the USA Today, “Members of one of Germany's governing parties on Saturday backed a proposal to introduce a speed limit on highways, which would revoke a cherished freedom in this rule-bound country and was likely to be met with resistance.? A majority of the delegates are backing a general speed limit 80 mph. “Many stretches of German autobahn have no speed limits. However, the current surge in concern over carbon dioxide emissions has put that tradition under renewed scrutiny.? Some have argued that speed limits would reduce incentives for manufacturers to produce more environment-friendly engines. They argue for “new technologies, new (car) fleets and alternative fuels — not new rules."

I wasn’t able to find a different account of this story, however the same AP story was printed in the Kansas City Star, the Monterey Herald of Salinas, CA, the Sioux City Journal, the Houston Chronicle, The Boston Globe, the El Paso Times, the Syracuse Post-Standard and many others.

October 22, 2007

7 Oil Workers Kidnapped in Nigeria

According to USA Today, “Gunmen in speedboats attacked an offshore oil field in the volatile Niger Delta, kidnapping three foreign workers and four Nigerians.? They were taken after a three-hour gun fight at the EA field, operated by Royal Dutch Shell. The next step will be to evacuate staff and try to work on releasing the kidnapped. “Nigeria is Africa's largest oil exporter and the fifth-largest supplier of crude to the United States. Around 100 foreign workers have been kidnapped since the beginning of the year.?

According to the BBC, “A British oil worker has been kidnapped in Nigeria along with six other men, the Foreign Office has confirmed.? A Shell spokesman said gunmen in speedboats attacked the EA oil field in the volatile Niger Delta. “Three foreign workers, including the Briton, and four Nigerians were taken after a three-hour gun battle, he said. About 200 foreign workers have been kidnapped in Nigeria since the beginning of the year. One was a three-year-old girl, the daughter of a British national, who was taken from the southern city of Port Harcourt in July. Nigeria is Africa's biggest petroleum producer, but unrest in the increasingly lawless oil field region has cut production.?

The two articles are fairly similar, with the BBC account focusing on the British oil worker who was kidnapped. One significant difference was that the BBC said 200 foreign workers had been kidnapped in Nigeria since the beginning of the year, and USA today said 100 had been kidnapped. Perhaps the USA Today meant 100 in the delta region, while the BBC may have meant the entire country of Nigeria.

October 14, 2007

Flooded Caves Leave 8 Dead in Thailand

According to BBC News, “Eight tourists, including one Briton, have died after being swept away by flash floods in Thailand while exploring a cave.? Two Thai guides, a British man, a German boy and four Swiss nationals were reported dead after going through a cave in the Khao Sok national park in Surat Thani province. There was one survivor who is believed to be a 17-year-old girl. They had traveled to the cave by boat. Heavy rainfall caused flash floods and the tourists in the cave didn’t know what was happening outside and were trapped. The survivor climbed up to the roof of the cave before being rescued. The province’s governor said signs are posted warning tourists to stay out of the caves during heavy rains.

According to the USA Today, “Six Western tourists and two Thai guides were killed after being swept away by flash floods while exploring a cave at a national park in southern Thailand, police said Sunday. One tourist was still missing.? heavy rainfall caused flash floods that sent water surging through the cave, in Khao Sok national park in Surathani Province late Saturday afternoon. “The dead tourists were three women, two men and a child. Another male tourist was still missing.? Rescuers worked through the night trying to save the group trapped inside.

The two articles had basically the same information with the BBC’s story a little more specific. It describes the nationalities of the tourists who died, and mentioned a survivor that wasn’t mentioned in the USA Today story. I think the BBC story was written/ updated later, which may be why it had more details. The wording was different in the BBC article as well, more than likely a non-American writer.

October 7, 2007

28 Dead after Bus and Train Collide in Cuba

According to USA Today, “A bus collided with a train in eastern Cuba, killing at least 28 people and injuring another 73 state television said late Saturday.? The collision happened at a railroad crossing in the province of Granma, in which the train dragged the bus before the bus fell below a bridge. “Authorities were still investigating the cause of the accident, which occurred shortly before noon Saturday.?

According to the BBC, “At least 28 people have been killed and more than 70 injured in Cuba after a train collided with a bus at a level crossing.? The accident happened in the Granma province on the island’s east side. “Buses and trains are almost always overcrowded in Cuba, where much of the infrastructure is run down.? It happened when a train headed from Santiago to Manzanillo crashed into a bus at a crossing in Yara, about 500 miles southeast of Havana.

Both of these stories were fairly brief mentioning only the essential details. Neither tried to put the story on a personal level nor did they use quotes. The BBC article had a little more detail than the USA Today. One interesting thing I found while searching for the article was that a very similar accident happened on the east end of Cuba, involving a train and a bus killing 56 people in November 1997.

October 1, 2007

60 Injured during 'Indian Idol' Protest

According to USA Today, more than 60 people are injured in India, after an angry mob rioted after a radio host made derogatory comments about the winner of the popular television show Indian Idol. “Violence broke out Friday after supporters of Prashant Tamang, the recent winner of the TV singing competition, took to the streets of the town of Siliguri to protest against what they perceived as a radio show host's ethnic slur against Tamang, who is an Indian citizen of Nepalese origin. The protesters apparently blocked a road and refused to let an ambulance carrying a patient pass, which led to clashes between Tamang's supporters and a group accompanying the ambulance. Twelve police officers were injured after intervening, firing guns and tear gas and using batons in self-defense? A curfew was imposed for Friday, keeping the situation under control.

According The Hindu, India’s National Newspaper, “A clash broke out in Siliguri on Friday between the fans of Prashant Tamang, recently selected Indian Idol, and local residents during a march protesting alleged derogatory remarks against him by a radio jockey of a Delhi-based private frequency-module channel.? Tamang later urged his fans not to resort to violence, to maintain peace. Vehicles were set on fire, and shops were attacked, causing police to fire three rounds after using tear gas and batons. The cause of the riot is that demonstrators allegedly prevented an ambulance headed to a hospital to pass through, which brought on police and the Army. State police administration sent a team of official to investigate the radio jockey and government will take legal action against the channel.

These two articles include the same basic information, however the wording in The Hindu is harder to understand. Many of the terms used were unusual or unfamiliar, which is more than likely a result of a foreign author. These two articles portray different styles of word choice and writing, which are directed towards their respective audiences.

September 22, 2007

New Ebola Cases found in Congo

According to the USA Today, “Four more cases of Ebola have been identified in Congo, bringing the total of confirmed cases to nine, officials said Saturday. The outbreak in Congo is the first major resurgence of Ebola in years.? Though it’s not clear how many are from Ebola, at least 167 people have died, and nearly 400 have become ill according to Congolese health officials. A World Health Organization spokesperson said the new samples came from the same area as the original confirmed samples. “Ebola quickly kills up to 90% of those infected through massive blood loss, and has no cure or treatment. It is spread through direct contact with the blood or secretions of an infected person, or objects that have been contaminated with infected secretions. Congo's last major Ebola outbreak struck in Kikwit, about 185 miles (300 kilometers) from the current outbreak site in 1995, killing 245 people.?
According to BBC News, nine deadly cases of Ebola have been confirmed in the Democratic Republic of Congo by the World Health Organisation. “At least 174 people in the country's West Kasai region have died so far in the current outbreak. There is no known cure for Ebola, which is fatal in around 80% of cases. DR Congo's last major Ebola outbreak killed more than 200 people in 1995 in Kikwit, about 400km (250 miles) west of the current outbreak.?
The USA Today article was more detailed and talked more about the current situation. The BBC only mentioned the latest developments in the abstract, which made the article a little weak. It was interesting to see the differing language between an American news organization and a British news organization. What was more interesting was that their statistics weren’t the same, calling for some verification.

September 16, 2007

87 Killed in Thai Plane Crash

According to USA Today, at least 87 people are dead and 43 injured after a plane, carrying many foreign tourists to one of Thailand's most popular resort islands, crashed while landing in torrential rains. “The deputy governor of Phuket island, Worapot Ratthaseema, said the dead included Irish, Israeli, Australian and British passengers. Officials said the McDonnell Douglas MD-82 plane was attempting to land in driving wind and rain but skidded off the runaway and broke into two parts. Survivors said they escaped from windows as fire and smoke consumed the plane. The budget One-Two-Go Airlines domestic flight OG269 was carrying 123 passengers and seven crew to Phuket from the Thai capital, Bangkok, said Monrudee Gettuphan, spokeswoman for Airports of Thailand. There were 78 foreigners on board, she said.? It was the worst crash in Thailand since 1998 when 101 died at Surat Thani, in similar conditions.
According to the Los Angeles Times, “a low-budget airline crashed and burst into flames while landing in heavy rain on Thailand's resort island of Phuket today, killing at least 87 people, including an unknown number of foreign tourists. The plane, carrying 130 passengers and crew, split in two, slid off the runway and caught fire as it crashed into trees around 3:30 p.m., according to local media reports. At least 29 people survived the crash, according to Thai officials. There were no immediate reports of American casualties. In 2004, a Boeing 747-200 operated by One-Two-Go's parent company, Thai-Orient, came within 656 feet of striking Tokyo Tower, a 1,093-foot replica of the Eiffel Tower that is a landmark in the Japanese capital. The flight, which was evenutally destined for Phuket, was on its final approach to Tokyo's Haneda when the near-accident occurred.? The chairman of the airline released a statement saying they “hope that the rainy season this year brings rain that washes away negativities and makes room for all the good things to come.?
These two articles are similar; however, the USA Today report was clearer. The LA Times reported that 87 of the 130 on board had died, yet only said “at least 29? had survived. It seems as if the USA Today reporters are a little better at math, stating 87 dead, and 43 injured twice in the story. Another section of the LA Times article stuck out when they stated “no immediate reports of American casualties,? which leads the reader to believe that the article is written by an American for an American audience. Also, they misspelled the word eventually, “evenutally,? which was very noticeable. I didn’t understand why the LA Times would add a section about a “near-accident? from 2004, where no one was injured. USA Today mentioned a bigger crash under similar circumstances that seemed a lot more relevant.