February 2012 Archives

Venezuelan President Chavez fine after surgery in Cuba

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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez had surgery Tuesday to remove a lesion from his pelvis and is now in good physical condition after the operation, Reuters said.

Chavez, 57, had new surgery in Cuba despite insisting that he had been cured of cancer during previous operations in Havana last year.

This latest health setback has fueled fresh doubts about Chavez's health and the possibility of campaigning for re-election in October.

Doctors found a large cancerous tumor in Chavez's pelvis back in June, which is what sparked his need for the operation.

Chavez traveled to Cuba for treatment because the communist-led Caribbean island's former president, Fidel Castro, is a close friend and his main political mentor.

Death toll in Ohio school shooting rises

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A third student died Tuesday morning in the suburban Cleveland high school shooting that left two other students dead after a teenager allegedly opened fire in the cafeteria Monday, CBS News said.

Demetrius Hewlin, a student from Chardon High School, and was listed in critical condition, passed away Tuesday morning.

Hewlin's family released a statement saying, "We are very saddened by the loss of our son and others in our Chardon community. Demetrius was a happy young man who loved life and his family and friends. We will miss him very much but we are proud that he will be able to help others through organ donation. We ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time."

Another student, Russell King Jr., was declared brain dead Tuesday. It was unclear at first whether King was to remain on life support, a statement referred to him as both brain dead and deceased.

Multimedia Analysis

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For the purpose of this analysis, I chose to compare the New York Times and the Washington Post.

The New York Times does not feature a large amount of multimedia. You can find maybe one video that accompanies the top story of the day. The multimedia is not featured on the page, which does a good job of not taking the focus off of the news story itself. The top items on the site have different graphics and interactive features that focus on the GOP race. These pieces are also written with many links placed in the text that can lead to even more information.

The Washington Post has a larger collection of multimedia images for each separate story. I enjoy the layout of this site because it seems much more friendly to normal news goers. Most stories on the home page have an image to accompany them. Each top story page has a large image at the head of the page, along with some graphics and links to other related stories that may interest readers. This particular GOP story has been reported from Michigan. The writing styles are comparable to one another.

A popular lakeside hot spot will have its noise levels monitored this year to comply with complaints of years past, the Star Tribune said.

Lord Fletcher's, a popular Lake Minnetonka restaurant, will have noise meters set up in a couple months to monitor sound levels for the summer months.

Decibel readings will be taken to determine how loud the late afternoon and evening outdoor music can be this summer. These regulations are due in part to conditions imposed recently by the city of Spring Park.

The restaurant obtains a music concert permit each year and is known for entertaining customers with live music.

This year's permit will attempt to set a initial maximum decibel level for the outdoor noise levels.

DNR upset about cleanliness of roads

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Minnesota conservation officers certainly aren't happy with the messes along their roads and waterways, the Star Tribune said.

The entire department is cracking down on litterbugs, warning ice fisherman, and watching key areas of the state for violations. Officers say that people normally wouldn't discard trash in their neighbors' yards, but have no problem littering on public roads and waterways.

Officers have found everything from discarded building materials to old appliances in ditches and left behind on lake ice.

The DNR expects to find even more trash before the season is over because the deadline for removing fish houses is approaching.

Littering is considered a misdemeanor as far as state law is concerned, but can carry a fine of around $1,000.

Obama and Romney introduce tax overhaul proposals

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Both Mitt Romney and President Obama introduced dueling tax overhaul proposals on Wednesday, sparking a fresh debate on federal deficit and wealthy individuals in America, the Washington Post said.

Romney plans to cut all existing tax brackets by the same proportion, including cutting the lowest rate to 8 percent. Romney unveiled details of his proposal just hours after President Obama expressed his plan on overhauling the nation's corporate tax code.

Obama's plan would lower the nation's corporate tax rate to 28 percent, and would boost overall revenue from corporate taxation. His plan targets oil and gas companies for tax increases while promising breaks for manufacturing companies.

It remains unclear how each of the plans would fare in Congress. Support has been given to a tax strategy that reduces rates across the board.

Two Western journalists among the dead in Syrian shelling

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Two Western journalists were among the more than 80 people killed by rockets and bombs in the city of Homs, Syria on Wednesday, the New York Times said.

Syrian security forces continued their bombardment of Homs Wednesday, as two Western journalists were killed while working in their makeshift media center that was destroyed during the assault.

Marie Colvin, an American war correspondent working for the Sunday Times of London, died just hours after conducting a phone interview with host Anderson Cooper on CNN.

Remi Ochlik, a young French photographer, was killed in the same assault.

This news comes just a week after correspondent Anthony Shadid of the New York Times died of an apparent asthma attack.

The United Nations recently stopped tallying the death toll after it could no longer verify the number of dead, which passed 5,400 in January.

ESPN fires employee for offensive Lin headline

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ESPN issued an apologetic statement and disciplined two employees after a racial slur appeared in a headline for their mobile site late Saturday night.

The network got in trouble after they ran the inappropriate headline following Lin and the Knicks' winning streak ended Friday night, the Washington Post said. ESPN executives took action Sunday, firing the employee responsible for the headline and suspending an anchor that used the phrase for 30 days.

"We again apologize, especially to Mr. Lin," ESPN said in the statement on its Web site. "His accomplishments are a source of great pride to the Asian-American community, including the Asian-American employees at ESPN. Through self-examination, improved editorial practices and controls, and response to constructive criticism, we will be better in the future."

Madagascar cyclone update

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I wrote a blog post on a cyclone that struck Madagascar on Tuesday, and then went back and analyzed what had been updated on Wednesday.

The leads for the two news releases differ because of new details that were gathered by the Associated Press, which showed that more people had died because of the cyclone.

The main news between the two has not changed much, but there is an attribution of a source that was not used in the original release. A government official is interviewed in the update, who provides further details on how many were killed and injured because of the cyclone. The second story certainly advances the news by providing more exact death counts and disproving the earlier toll of three.

The second-day story is a response to a report from the same news organization. The flow of the story is not affected by the changes, which is similar to the fact block strategies that we learned in class. The fact blocks can be rearranged to fit more recent incoming details. This helps the report flow better than it had in the original report.

17 TCU students caught in drug sting

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Police said four Texas Christian University football players are among 17 students who were arrested Wednesday, the Associated Press reported.

The students that were arrested Wednesday were caught in an undercover operation selling marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy and prescription drugs. Names of the students involved will be released later in the day.

USA Today said that the investigation was a joint operation between the Fort Worth Police Department and TCU Campus Police.

"We have a responsibility to ensure that our campus environment is free of such behavior. Today's actions highlight that responsibility," school chancellor Victor Boschini said. "The students involved were immediately separated from TCU and criminally trespassed from campus. Further, according to University policy, students arrested and found in violation of distributing drugs are subject to immediate expulsion from TCU."

Authorities have been investigating for six months after complaints from students, parents, and others.

All of the students involved have since been expelled.

Cyclone Giovanna kills three in Madagascar

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Officials in Madagascar say a cyclone that hit the Indian Ocean island left three people dead, the Washington Post reported.

Cyclone Giovanna struck land around 1 a.m. Tuesday, which brought heavy rain and high winds along with it. Around 70 families were forced to leave their homes due to flooding.

According to national disaster officials, one person was electrocuted and another was crushed by a house that collapsed in Brickaville. The third victim drowned in Moramanga.

The worst of the storm was over by the afternoon.

Houston Aeros forward Justin Fontaine was suspended for two games Tuesday after he used a gay slur during a Twitter exchange during the Grammy Awards with a teammate on Sunday night, the Star Tribune said.

Fontaine removed the tweet soon after and apologized to anyone he may have offended. By the time he apologized though, the tweet had been retweeted by another teammate and spread all across the internet.

Fontaine, 24, was unavailable for comment, but he reached out to a fan Monday saying that he felt awful for his poor judgement.

Prior to the start of the NHL season, the league issued a social media policy, which includes a "blackout period" on game days. The new policy makes it clear that club personnel will be held responsible for social communications in the same way that they are for public communications.

Capitol building needs $241 million restoration

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The Minnesota capitol building needs costly restoration work that will only get more expensive with time, the Pioneer Press reports.

Estimated costs of $241 million in repairs were suggested by experts, but the money toward restoration will not come easily since Gov. Mark Dayton did not propose funds for the project in his bonding bill.

The budget situation is already tight due to the high demand for funding to go toward a new Vikings stadium deal. Minnesota Senate majority leader David Senjem of Rochester said that the Capitol's exterior needs repair, but some other items do not seem as necessary.

Many states addressed their expensive repair costs during the 1980s and 90s, where Minnesota chose to make smaller fixes.

The building is one of only a few capitol structures that has not gone through a large-scale renovation in its history.

Pop legend Whitney Houston dies at 48

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The music industry lost an icon Saturday in Beverly Hills, Calif., as Whitney Houston was found dead in her hotel room, the New York Times said.

Her death came on the eve of music's biggest night of the year, the Grammy Awards. Houston was staying at the Beverly Hilton hotel so she could attend a pre-Grammy party being hosted by Clive Davis, her pop mentor.

Houston was found in her room at 3:55 p.m., and paramedics spent 20 minutes attempting to revive her before she was pronounced dead. Authorities said that there were no signs of foul play and no immediate cause of death could be determined.

Houston was a queen at the Grammy Awards for her generation. Singer Jennifer Hudson paid tribute to a fallen idol by performing one of Houston's most memorable songs, "I Will Always Love You", Sunday night during the awards broadcast.

Rhode Island ticket hits Powerball for $336 million

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The Star Tribune covered the story of the big jackpot winner from the small state of Rhode Island.

The reporter has organized the important elements so that location is the primary detail. He first states where the winning ticket was sold, and then the amount that was won. The winning numbers are then revealed to the reader, but the writer adds that the winner has yet to come forward.

The way the writer chose to organize the information was very effective in telling the story. With a fairly straight forward story like this one, it seems difficult to rearrange the information in a way that would improve the reader's experience with the article. Certain details like the name of the winner would add more to the story, but those details were unknown at the time.

Pierce passes Larry Bird on Celtics scoring list

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Boston Celtics captain Paul Pierce moved past Larry Bird on the franchise's all-time scoring list Tuesday night, ESPN said.

Pierce moved into second place behind John Havlicek as the Celtics defeated the Charlotte Bobcats 94-84 at TD Garden.

As he was poised to pass Bird, Pierce swore on Sunday night that he would not think about the milestone moment during Tuesday's game, but he lied.

After two days of hype passed, Pierce began to feel more expectations as he took the floor on Tuesday.

Pierce finished the game with 15 points, passing Bird on a third quarter 3-pointer from the right wing. He also came very close to recording a triple-double, by adding nine assists and eight rebounds in 37 minutes of play.

Hecker fears being transferred to traditional prison

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Former auto mogul Denny Hecker has expressed concern that he may moved toward a traditional prison facility in the near future, the Star Tribune said.

Hecker's former attorney worries that the move to solitary confinement may lead to Hecker being moved to a traditional prison facility sooner than later.

For weeks, Hecker has been held in a special segregated housing unit, where he is serving a 10-year sentence for fraud.

He has also suffered from diabetes and other health problems in the past, which puts Hecker even more at risk in a traditional prison.

A friend of Hecker, Ralph Thomas, believes that Hecker may be in trouble for violating the prison's cellphone policy during his stay there.

Madonna will make first stop in Twin Cities since '87

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Worldwide music sensation Madonna will play her first concert in Minnesota since 1987, the Star Tribune said.

Her tour will make a stop in the Twin Cities for a performance on Nov. 3 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

The pop icon plans to play 26 shows abroad, then she will return for 26 shows in North America. The concerts will promote her new album, "MDNA", which is set to be released on March 26.

The announcement comes just days after she was the headline artist playing at halftime of the Super Bowl.

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul is hoping that Minnesota will give him his first win of the campaign on Tuesday, the Star Tribune said.

Paul has invested days of campaigning and money for television ads in Minnesota, looking to gain critical support from a battleground state.

The Texas congressman plans to spend Tuesday celebrating a caucus-night party outside of Minneapolis.

In his Minnesota stops, Paul has focused on anti-war themes and made himself clear on committing to cutting government budgets.

At this time four years ago, Romney won the Minnesota caucus, while Paul took fourth.

Large Earthquake Hits Central Philippines

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A strong earthquake shook a central Philippine island Monday, setting off landslides and leaving dozens of people trapped under collapsed houses, the Associated Press said.

The 6.9-magnitude quake left at least 13 people dead and 40 more are believed missing in a narrow strait just off Negros Island.

Army troops and police were deployed to help in the rescue shortly after the quake occurred at 11:49 a.m. (0349 GMT). The quake triggered a large number of landslides in surrounding villages, where numbers of dead and missing civilians are still unknown.

The Philippines sits in the Pacific "Ring of Fire" where earthquakes and volcanic activity are common. The latest quake was set off by movement in an undersea fault.

Attribution Analysis: Love Stomp, Just an Accident

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During Saturday's game between the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Houston Rockets, Kevin Love and Luis Scola were involved in an on-court altercation that ended when Love stepped on Scola's face, Fox Sports said.

Within this story, writer Tyler Mason gathered both sides of the story by talking to both Love and Scola after the game. He names each of the sources, using Love's initial thoughts early in the story, and Scola's toward the end. The two sources are spread out throughout the story evenly.

The information was gathered from the two players directly involved with the incident, which adds credibility to the story. Mason sets up the attribution by explaining what happened during the game, and introducing how Love responded following the end of the game. The way Mason sets up his attribution is very effective and clearly put to where the reader understands exactly what happened, and also how each player felt about the incident.

Maturi resigns as University Athletics Director

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After 10 years as the University of Minnesota's athletics director, Joel Maturi has decided to step down on June 30, the Minnesota Daily said.

Maturi's retirement was announced Thursday at a special press conference in TCF Bank Stadium. The announcement ended a year of speculation regarding his future with the university.

The search for a replacement will begin as soon as possible, with a plan of having a replacement by July ideally.

Throughout his tenure, it has been Maturi's main objective to make certain all of the student athletes received a great education along with their degress, gophersports.com said.

Joel Maturi will be missed dearly by this university for what he did during his time as athletics director.

St. Paul to Remove 500 more Ash trees in Ash Borer War.

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In order to get ahead of the emerald ash borer, St. Paul Parks and Recreation will resume removing aged and declining ash trees this month in anticipation of a busy season, the Pioneer Press said.

The goal of the city is to remove 503 trees by spring and replace them with other types like elm and oak trees.

After the summer season, an additional 600 trees will most likely need to be replaced due to the severity of the ash borer migrating.

City officials estimate that nearly 30,000 ash trees line its public boulevards in one of the most livable cities in the nation.

Helicopters Rescue Europeans Stranded by Snow

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Dozens of people were rescued from snow-blocked villages in Serbia and Bosnia after a sever cold spell hit Eastern Europe, the Associated Press said.

Food and medicine were air-lifted into the area as the death toll rose to 83 on Wednesday. Emergency crews worked overtime in freezing temperatures to help dozens of stranded people.

In Bulgaria, 16 towns recorded their lowest temperatures since records started nearly 100 years ago.

Some Bosnian villages have had no power or electricity for days, and crews were working long hours to help restore power in the area.

About this Archive

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

January 2012 is the previous archive.

March 2012 is the next archive.

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