April 2012 Archives

Analysis: Records

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Within the Extra Extra section of www.nicar.org, I found a story titled "Are U.S. Border Agents Crossing the Line?". The story was mainly fueled by two different records sources. The Investigative Fund of the Nation Institute is an investigative reporting focused site that drives excellence in the field. This article was written with the help of that site and the "Need to Know" feature that PBS focused on the same topic.

Using these two sites as reference, the investigative report highlights flaws in the way we monitor border patrol in the United States. The reporter linked both sites to his own article to outsource some of the information he gathered for the report. The reporter also only included the most important message from the story to make it ideal for social media use and fast reading.

Totino-Grace High School evacuated after mercury spill

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Totino-Grace students were evacuated from the Fridley school Friday but told to remain on campus after a thermometer was discovered on the floor of a classroom, the Star Tribune said.

A hazardous materials assessment team and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's emergency response team remained on site more than two hours after the school was evacuated.

Students were told to remain on campus, because there appeared to be no health hazard.

Students were told to stay put in case chemicals were found on shoes or other items.

Parents were alerted by phone and e-mail, and the school's website was posting continuous updates.

A University of Minnesota spokesman says school leaders support a legislative proposal that could bring beer sales to the on-campus football stadium, the Star Tribune said.

It would be up to the Board of Regents to decide how to manage any alcohol sales at TCF Bank Stadium.

A vote could come as soon as Friday to send a bill allowing liquor sales through half-time of collegiate games and during any Minnesota Vikings games held there.

The measure is part of a larger liquor policy bill.

Liquor cannot currently be purchased at the stadium because state law required sales in either one-third of the stadium or not at all.

Shocking rape video goes viral in South Africa

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A cell phone video from South Africa is said to have gone viral Wednesday after a group of Soweto youths filmed themselves raping a 17-year-old girl, CNN said.

The video spread very quickly among school kids in the township south of Johannesburg, and the term #rapevideo was trending on Twitter in South Africa on Wednesday.

The suspects, aged between 14 and 20, were arrested Tuesday morning and charged with kidnapping and rape.

Media reports suggest the police initially failed to open a missing persons case for the girl, but they have since done so.

Legendary women's college basketball coach Pat Summitt announced that she would step down at Tennessee, the Los Angeles Times said.

Summitt, the winningest coach in college basketball history, will take the title of 'head coach emeritus' and be replaced by Holly Warlick.

Summitt was diagnosed with early-onset dementia less than a year ago.

Summitt has coached the Lady Vols for 38 seasons, leading the team to eight national championships and 18 Final Four appearances.

She was the NCAA coach of the year seven times.

Illinois couple claims the final Mega Millions prize

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The last of the Mega Millions lottery winners are a married couple from Red Bud, Ill., and they will claim their share in the biggest jackpot in lottery history today, ABC News said.

The couple will appear at a news conference today to have their identity revealed for the first time. Illinois officials require winners to come forward in order to prove to the public that the money is being rewarded.

The other two Mega Millions lottery winners were from Kansas and Maryland, and those states do not require the winner to go public.

The newly-crowned multimillionaires can decide between receiving 26 yearly payments totaling $218.6 million or a one-time lump sum of $157.8 million.

Heroin deaths on the rise in Twin Cities

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Heroin deaths skyrocketed in the Twin Cities last year as the drug grew more popular, potent and deadly, the Star Tribune said.

Deaths caused by heroin in Hennepin, Ramsey and Anoka counties nearly tripled in 2011 compared to the previous year, rising from 16 to 46.

New test results showed that heroin purchased in the Twin Cities is 93.5 percent pure, the highest potency in the nation.

Hennepin County authorities are already on track to surpass the amount of heroin seized last year.

In Hennepin County alone, heroin related deaths rose from eight in 2010 to 21 in 2011.

Police believe the drug to be coming from Mexico, but the high potency of the drug in Minnesota makes it much easier to accidentally overdose.

Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn resigned Tuesday and the company confirmed it is investigating allegations that he engaged in personal misconduct, the Star Tribune said.

Less than two weeks ago, Dunn said that Best Buy will close 50 stores nationwide and lay off thousands of workers.

For three years, Dunn has faced criticism from investors over the sinking stock price and sales. In recent years, the company has been losing market share to Wal-Mart and online competitors.

The company's struggles have led to speculation that Dunn would lose his job. Best Buy's stock fell 6 percent Tuesday.

Sources said that Dunn's personal behavior, not his company's falling fortune, led to his exit.

North Korea's rocket launch ends in failure

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North Korea's long-range rocket launch ended in apparent failure, South Korean officials said, knocking the prestige of the reclusive state that defied pressure to push ahead with the project, Reuters said.

North Korea said it wanted their new rocket to put a weather satellite into orbit, although critics believed it was designed to deliver a nuclear warhead capable of hitting the continental United States.

A spokesman from South Korea said that the rocket had broken up and crashed into the sea a few minutes after launch.

Officials from Japan confirmed the mission failed, while ABC News cited U.S. officials saying there was no immediate indication that the rocket had failed.

This was North Korea's second consecutive failure to get a satellite into orbit.

NCAA accepts Baylor's self-imposed penalties

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The NCAA has announced it will not assess additional penalties to those self-imposed by Baylor University for the more than 1,200 impermissible phone calls and text messages made over a 29-month span, the USA Today said.

The imposed penalties involved the men's and women's basketball teams mainly, but nine programs overall.

The investigation carried out by the NCAA, took more than three years to complete, but was resolved by the summary disposition process rather than a formal hearing.

There will be no appeal, and the case is now complete.

Facebook purchases Instagram app for $1 billion

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Facebook is purchasing a mobile app that teens can't get enough of, the Los Angeles Times said.

Users of Instagram tend to be far younger than the users of Facebook, but the two certainly are similar in terms of popularity.

Instagram is a mobile application that is used to snap photos, jazz them up with effects, and post them to social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter.

Facebook is paying $1 billion for a hugely popular photo-sharing app maker.

The San Francisco based company says that is has more than 30 million users. Researchers say that the app attracts the most active users of apps, teens.

Analysis: Diversity

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The news story done by the New York Times on the condition of a cease fire in Syria was very different from what I usually read from a cultural aspect.

The report is very effective at moving past stereotypes and reaching a higher level of objectivity. A publication like the New York Times is very good at focusing on the news story in general, rather than the particular nature of the people involved in the matter.

By using specific quotes and attributing them to important figures, the report become much more substantive.

Lateef, of Sanford Hall, provided me with his perspective of the issue and I showed him the news story to allow him the chance to react to the data presented in the report. He told me that the professional nature and the reputation the New York Times has is what reassured him that this report was fact based and avoided stereotypes. He was confident that the cultural group portrayed in the report was shown in neutral lighting.

A Minnesota boy who went missing with his father nearly two weeks ago has been found safe, and his dad is hospitalized with self-inflicted injuries, the Star Tribune said.

Wyatt Nordrum, 7, and his dad James Leon Nordrum Jr., 41, were found Saturday in a cabin on Lost Lake. The cabin is located on the Fond du Lac Indian Reservation within St. Louis County.

Wyatt was allegedly kidnapped on March 27 by Nordrum, who is in a custody battle with Wyatt's mother.

The boy has since been reunited with his mother.

Nordrum is in stable condition with self-inflicted neck injuries. Officials say he is in custody for kidnapping and depravation of parental rights.

Man dies after all-terrain vehicle crash in Avon

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A man died early Sunday after he lost control of the all-terrain vehicle he was driving and crashed into a tree in Avon, the Star Tribune said.

Stearns County Police were called to the ATV crash site on Schuman Lake Road shortly before 3 a.m. Sunday.

It appeared the ATV was heading west when the driver lost control on the curve, slid across a dirt road and struck a tree. The driver was being flown to North Memorial Hospital but he died on the way.

His name is not being released until the family is notified. The accident is still being investigated.

Yahoo laying off 2,000 employees in latest purge

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Yahoo plans to lay off 2,000 employees , the Star Tribune said.

In an attempt to turn around the struggling internet giant, new CEO Scott Thompson plans to eliminate 14 percent of his workforce in hopes of saving near $375 million a year.

Workers losing their jobs were being notified Wednesday. Some of the affected employees will be staying on to complete various projects, according to Yahoo.

The housecleaning marks Yahoo's sixth mass layoff of employees in the past four years under three different CEOs. This one will inflict the greatest cuts yet.

These cuts are part of an overhaul aimed on focusing on what Thompson believes are Yahoo's strengths in the increasingly important mobile computing market.

The United States has announced a $10 million bounty for the arrest of Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, founder of the Pakistani group blamed for the terrorist attacks on Mumbai in 2008, the Washington Post said.

In a surprising development, India was pleased but Pakistan was agitated and strain was added to already shaky alliance.

The reward was approved by U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, who appeared to tilt the United States toward India at a rather delicate time.

India is the historical antagonist of Pakistan, and both nuclear-armed rivals have a large stake in the future of Afghanistan.

Saeed, 61, has long been designated as an international terrorist, yet he continues to preach jihad and operates a large campus for religious training in the easter city of Lahore.

Baylor women remain perfect heading into final

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The Baylor Lady Bears (39-0) are one win away from becoming the first team in NCAA history to record 40 wins in a season, the Denver Post said.

With their 59-47 win over Stanford on Sunday, the Bears inched one game closer to history, and only Notre Dame now stands in their way.

Baylor has relied heavily on national player of the year Brittney Griner and all-american point guard Odyssey Sims to be their winning connection throughout the season, but an unlikely source provided the spark on Sunday night.

Senior reserve Terran Condrey scored 10 of her 13 points in the second half to propel her team, after she had only averaged 4.1 points the entire season.

Griner tied a season low with only three baskets, on her way to 13 points.

Analysis: Mega Millions jackpot

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The multiple reporters that contributed to the Wall Street Journal story covering the Mega Millions jackpot used numbers to their advantage throughout.

The reporters used the estimated $656 million prize to tell the story, which was the greatest detail of all. When doing a story of a large lottery jackpot, numbers are always the most important element within the text. So each writer was able to contribute their own analysis using multiple figures to tell a story.

The reporters could have made the numbers easier to grasp by explaining the payment process at a bit more detailed rate. Their analysis of the lump-sum and annual payment process was a bit hard to understand due to the figures that were used.

The reporters did not necessarily use complex formulas or crunch numbers to tell the story, but the figures they used were insightful and told the story in an efficient way.

The numbers were compiled by speaking with various lottery officials of each state. The article also listed the five highest winning lottery jackpots in U.S. history, which helped the significance of the figures used in the article.

Three winners of the record-breaking U.S. lottery jackpot now face a series of decision after winning a share of the $656 million prize Friday, the Wall Street Journal said.

Tickets sold in Kansas, Illinois and Maryland matched all six numbers in Friday's drawing. None of the winners had come forward as of Sunday evening.

One winning ticket was purchased at a Motomart in Red Bull, Ill., a town about an hour south of St. Louis. The Motomart owners will receive $500,000 based on that state's lottery rules.

Another winning ticket was sold at a 7-Eleven just outside Baltimore. The couple that owns the store will receive $100,000.

The total payout if all three winners take the money in lump-sum payments will be $474 million.

Minneapolis police shoot man wielding knife

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A Minneapolis police officer shot and wounded a man who was threatening him with a knife Sunday morning in south Minneapolis, the Star Tribune said.

The officer ordered the man to drop the weapon, but he refused and approached the officer in a threatening manner as the officer backed up across two lanes of traffic.

The man kept approaching, but the officer shot him due to the threat for his own safety and the safety of the public. The officer then immediately called the paramedics to treat the man.

The man was later identified as Robert John Yellow Wolf, 43.

Three bombs in Thailand kill at least 14

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Three car-bomb attacks Saturday in southern Thailand, which killed at least 14 people and wounded hundreds of others, propelled Muslim hostility toward a recent crisis point after years of brutal attacks, the Wall Street Journal said.

Thailand's southern militants are seeking out higher-profile targets according to security analysts. The bombs singled out weekend shoppers and vacationers in busy commercial areas, turning a small conflict into a much more dangerous campaign.

Security officials blamed the attacks on Muslim rebels seeking to break away from control of the national government.

It is still unclear what the rebels' specific goals are, but unlike other militant groups, Thailand's Muslim insurgents keep a low profile and make few public pronouncements.

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