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April 12, 2009

Analysis: Diversity

In the article, "Kidnapped US captain freed; snipers kill 3 pirates," the Associated Press writers deal with the racial and cultural diversity of people involved in the story. The writers must tell a story that bridges the very different lives of Somalian warlords and pirates, common U.S. citizens working on a commercial freighter, and U.S. Navy Seals and their commanders. All people involved come from very different backgrounds, so the writers must be careful to move beyond stereotypes. The writers must be particularly careful concerning the people of Somalia, whose government is in tatters and the shores of which are described by the writers as "anarchic" and gun-plagged."
I believe that the article makes several attempts to move beyond the stereotypes that many Somalians are warlords and pirates. The article includes an interview with a Somalian citizen, who owns a clothes store, who said that upon receiving news of the event he was concerned that pirates would exact revenge on villages and common citizens like himself.
The article makes few other attempts, however, to explain what life is like in Somalia and focuses mostly on the statements from government officials and the actions of the pirates.

TODD PITMAN and LARA JAKES. "Kidnapped US captain freed; snipers kill 3 pirates." Associated Press: April 12, 2009.

Zebra Mussels might have spread to Prior Lake

Zebra mussels may be present in Prior Lake, making it the first recreational lake in and around the Twin Cities to be invaded by this aggressive pest.

The DNR received notice from a homeowner that zebra mussel shells were found on the lake's beach. The DNR has sent divers into the lake to search for the presence of the zebra mussel.

Luke Skinner, supervisor of the DNR invasive species unit said that the divers will find that "likely it's infested.

http://www.startribune.com/local/south/42807872.html?elr=KArks:DCiUHc3E7_V_nDaycUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aUUr

Last of Working Bloomington Farms might Sell

The last working farm in Bloomington may forced to sell in order to make room for development. The 58 acres of the Kelley Farm, which is in view of the Mall of America, might be purchased by United Properties.

One of the reasons the farm has lasted so long is that it is near the airport runway, which means that housing cannot be built on the site. Bill Katter, a United Properties senior vice president for development, said that there are already clients interested in putting offices up on the land.

"It's a unique property for its views and proximity to the Mall of America and airport," he said. "All those things play into our interest to make a deal there."

http://www.startribune.com/local/west/42882407.html?elr=KArks:DCiUHc3E7_V_nDaycUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aULPQL7PQLanchO7DiUr

40 New Hampshire Christian Center Homes Burned

A massive fire in New Hampshire burned as many as 40 homes in a Christian center this Easter Sunday.

The fire began in the evening, though not during season when residents would be present. Of the 140 homes present on Lake Winnipesaukee, some 40 are damaged or destroyed.

"Fortunately, it was at this time of year," state Fire Marshal William Degnan said. "During the summer, it's full."

Florida Boat Slams into Tug Boat; 5 killed, 7 injured

Five people were killed off the Florida coast Sunday when a pleasure boat crashed into the rear of a docked tug boat near St. Augustine, authorities said.

Seven more were injured in an crash while authorities are yet to discover whether it was the impact of the crash or other causes that put many of the passengers into the sea.

The boat was carrying 12 people, according to Jeremy Robshaw of the St. John's County Fire and Rescue, who also said that three of the injured were in critical condition.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090413/ap_on_re_us/fatal_boat_crash

Kidnapped US Captain freed

Putting an end to one part of the hostage crisis off the coast of Somalia, Navy Seal snipers managed to rescue a U.S. captain of a commercial freighter Sunday from Somalian pirates. The captain had been held hostage during a five-day standoff between Somalian pirates and U.S. forces, which included daring escapes by both the crew and the captain. Three Somalian hostage takers were killed in the raid.

By freeing Capt. Richard Phillips, the crisis is certainly not over, as Somalian warlords have vowed revenge.

"This could escalate violence in this part of the world, no question about it," said Bill Gortney, the commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090413/ap_on_re_af/piracy

April 5, 2009

Analysis: Numbers

The Associated Press story, "Magnitude-6.3 quake hits northeast of Rome," uses numbers in several ways. The value in magnitude of an earthquake (6.3) is used to frame the, well, magnitude of such an event in the news as a whole. A value of distance (in kilometers and miles), denoting the value of the radius this earthquake affected, and a value for time, listed in two different ways, help frame the where and when of the event. The numbers are slightly overwhelming when values of time and distance are listed under two different systems (for example, miles and kilometers), but this is necessary since the Associated Press is a global journalistic institution. The reporter had to use math in order to come up with these conversions and it is effective in helping the reporter's diverse audience picture the event. The sole source of these numbers comes from the U.S. Geological Survey, which it seems gave values in kilometers and Greenwich Mean Time. The reporter lists these values in between parentheses, though only after listing the more familiar units (to a U.S. audience) of miles and Eastern Standard Time.

Associated Press. "Magnitude-6.3 quake hits northeast of Rome."
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090406/ap_on_re_eu/eu_italy_earthquake

3 Winona High School Students Charged with Theft

Three honor students at Winona Senior High School have been charged with stealing more than $1,300 in cash and merchandise for school gym lockers. The charges against the boys, one 17 and the other two 16, include felonies.
The boys broke padlocks on lockers in December and stole items that include cash, a credit card, and electronic devices. One of the boys implicated the rest after he was caught carrying some of the stolen items in his backpack.

http://www.startribune.com/local/42479442.html?elr=KArksLckD8EQDUoaEyqyP4O:DW3ckUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aUUr

St. Thomas Student Missing

A University of St. Thomas freshman went missing on Sunday, St. Paul police report. Dan Zamlen last spoke with friends at 2:30 a.m. as he was walking on St. Clair Avenue toward Mississippi River Boulevard S.
Zamlen had reportedly left his friends at a house party after getting into a verbal dispute. Authorities and family are concerned that his disappearance may have something to do with the fact that he has Type I diabetes.

http://www.startribune.com/local/stpaul/42506752.html?elr=KArksUUUycaEacyU

Taliban in Pakistan Threaten 2 Attacks per Week

A suicide bombing in a crowded Shiite mosque in Pakistan killed 22 people Sunday. The bombing further illustrates how the U.S.-allied nation is finding itself unable to combat al-Qaida and Taliban fighters.
The bombing follows an announcement by the Pakistani Taliban commander that the group would maintain two attacks per week in the country until the U.S. stops its missile strikes on Pakistani territories.

The attack came only a day after another deadly Taliban suicide bombing, this time in Islamabad, something which has become almost routine in Pakistan.


http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090405/ap_on_re_as/as_pakistan

U.S. Drug Enforcement Fights Submarine-like boats hauling cocaine.

It is not too uncommon for the U.S. Navy or Coast Guard to spot vessels similar in size to humpback whales gliding through the water’s surface. Columbian drug traffickers are attempting to evade border patrols and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration by constructing homemade semi-submersible vessels. The vessels have been found to carry large amounts of cocaine and even crew members.
A recently passed U.S. law, the Drug Trafficking Vessel Interdiction Act of 2008, seeks to punish these crew members with longer prison sentences and strengthen the U.S.’s abilities to prevent other such vessels from reaching the U.S.
“It’s very likely a game-changer,” said Jay Bergman, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s regional director, based in Columbia. “You don’t get a get-out-of-jail free card anymore.”

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090405/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/lt_colombia_narco_subs

Obama urges action after North Korea Tests Missile

The U.S. and its allies held an emergency session in U.N. today after North Korea tested a long-range missile, which fizzled into the Pacific Ocean. President Obama, who is on European tour, is seeking punishment for North Korea’s supposed breaking of the rules on a treaty preventing the nation’s testing of ballistic missiles.
“North Korea broke the rules, once again, by testing a rocket that could be used for long-range missiles, Obama said in Prague. Obama also warned that North Korea’s action will most likely further isolate the nation.


http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090405/ap_on_re_as/as_nkorea_missile