September 2012 Archives

Syria moves chemical weapons

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The Syrian government has moved some of their chemical weapons, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said in a statement released to the Associated Press.
Syria is believed to have a large supply of chemical and biological weapons and has threatened to use them if the country is attacked, according to the report.
It is unknown where the weapons were moved to and President Barack Obama has said that the U.S. will not tolerate the use or transfer of the weapons, the report said.
Civil war continues to rage on in Syria, and there is concern that Syrian President Bashar Assad may use some of these weapons on rebel forces and the civilian population, Reuters reports.

Analysis on structure in a news story

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The reporter of one of the stories I read which was covering the movement of chemical weapons in Syria explained what happened in the lead and used the next four paragraphs to further elaborate on the news that Syria has moved some of their chemical weapons to an unknown location. Each of the first five paragraphs attributes the information to either intelligence, US officials, or the defense secretary (when quoting him specifically).
The next three paragraphs explain the background (why this is newsworthy) and the concern about the status of these weapons in the hands of such a volatile nation. It is revealed that President Obama had, at some point (doesn't say when or in what context), threatened serious consequences if these weapons were used or moved. I think that if this was attributed properly to Obama I would have placed it higher up in the story.
Also, mentioning that Syria is in possession of what intelligence says is the world's largest stockpile of these kinds of weapons would be something that I would try to work into the first couple of paragraphs.
This is an effective article, but a person would need to know some background to understand the magnitude of the situation, and for that reason, I would rearrange things a little bit. However, the reporter does a nice job of concisely covering the main points of a very complicated, ongoing debacle.

First Presidential Debate on Wednesday

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President Barack Obama and republican candidate Mitt Romney will participate in the first of three televised debates this Wednesday night in Denver, Colorado, Reuters reports.
With recent polls showing Obama with a lead in several of the key swing states, these debates will give Romney the chance to pitch his vision for the future.
The debate will air beginning at 8 p.m. ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC and several cable news channels.
The topic for the first debate is domestic policy and will be moderated by Jim Lehrer.
The second debate is scheduled for October 16 in Hempstead, New York.

NFL and Referees Reach Agreement, Ending Lockout

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The NFL and its officials have come to a new eight-year deal that will put the "real" referees back to work following three chaotic weeks of games officiated by replacements, the USA Today reports.
Public outcry became too loud to ignore on Monday night after officials controversially ruled that a player from the Seattle Seahawks had caught a pass in the end zone at the end of the game, when it appeared clear that the defense had intercepted the pass. The play gave Seattle the win and the call was the first mistake of the season to directly effect the outcome of a game.
On Thursday night a crew of "real" referees returned to work to officiate a game between the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens and received a standing ovation, Mercury News reports.

Death at the Workplace in Minneapolis

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A Minneapolis man who had been fired from his job at a sign-making company earlier in the day, returned and opened fire, killing six including himself on Thursday afternoon, the LA Times reports.
Andrew J. Engeldinger, 36, has been identified as the gunman, police said. At around 4:25 p.m., he walked into the loading dock area of Accent Signage Systems Inc. and began shooting people.
Among those killed were the owner of the company, Reuven Rahamim and a UPS driver who appeared to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, police said.
Engeldinger had worked for the company since the late 1990s, and had been informed earlier in the day that he no longer had a job, the Star Tribune reports. He was described as a loner by coworkers and neighbors and appears to have suffered with mental illness of some sort, according to the report.
This is the largest workplace massacre in recent Minnesota history, according to the Star Tribune.

President of Iran Speaks at United Nations General Assembly

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Following days of protests in New York City, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke to the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, ABC news said.
In what appears to be a bizarre coincidence, the Iranian leader was given the platform on Yom Kippur, one of Judaism's holiest days. The controversial leader who has previously denied the Holocaust and called for Israel's destruction referred to Israelis as "uncivilized Zionists" during his speech, ABC reports.
Ahmadinejad was clearly frustrated with the United States and other countries which he said dominate and "trample the rights" of weaker nations for materialistic reasons and called for a restructuring of the United Nations, USA Today said.
The United States delegation boycotted Ahmadinejad's speech to comments made earlier in the week.

Attribution Analysis

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The authors of the Minnesota Daily story about the stabbing on Como Ave. last Monday used three different sources: the police, a witness and a spokeswoman for Hennepin County Medical Center.
Each of the three sources are named and are scattered throughout the story. The story consists of ten paragraphs, and seven of them contain a reference to a source. All except for one of the references are quotes from people who are named, the other being "police said," which is either a reference to the police report, or to the officer who is named in the story.
The attributions to the officer and the spokeswoman for HCMC come after their contributions are given, with their names preceded by their titles, while the witness (Tim Kvernen) is referenced without an introduction.
The attributions are effective, although I feel that seven references is a few too many. The officer's contributions could have been grouped together, as could have the witness'. It looks right, and the attributions come from good, named sources, but seeing a person's name repeated over and over again comes off as redundant to me.

The firestorm created by the anti-Islamic film "Innocence of Muslims" continues to grow as a Pakistani Cabinet minister has issued a $100,000 bounty on the head of the man responsible for the film which mocks the prophet Mohammad and has been the subject of several anti-American protests in the Middle East and elsewhere, the New York Times reports.
Railways Minister Ghulam Ahmad Bilour made the offer on Saturday, an offer which is open to anyone- members of the Taliban and al-Qaeda included- who will carry out the killing.
A representative for the prime minister of Pakistan government was quick to disown Bilour's comments, insisting that this is "not government policy" the AFP said.
Not surprisingly, the US state department has also condemned the bounty, BBC news reports.
As protests and anti-American sentiments continue to rage, the alleged producer of the film is in hiding.

Green Day Singer Checks Into Rehab

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Following an onstage outburst at the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas on Friday night, Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong is seeking treatment for substance abuse, according to a statement from the band.
The incident happened less than 30 minutes into the band's set, when the singer became outraged when a video prompter indicated that the band had to wrap up their set in one minute. Armstrong brought the band to a halt mid-song and went on a profanity-filled rant. He then smashed his guitar and stormed off stage, Billboard reports.
The band's statement says that Clear Channel (the event's sponsor) did not cut the band's set short and apologized to anyone offended by the incident.
Green Day's latest album "Uno" will be released this coming Tuesday.


Man Stabbed in Como Neighborhood

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An Isanti man was stabbed early Monday morning near the intersection of 15th and Como Avenues Southeast-about a mile north of the University of Minnesota campus, the Daily reports.
At around 5 a.m. police responded to the disturbance and found the victim on a bus and found another man who they believe to be the perpetrator of the stabbing running around the neighborhood naked, KSTP said.
The naked man was arrested on suspicion of assault with a dangerous weapon and taken to the Hennepin County Medical Center for observation, the police report said.
The victim was also taken to the Hennepin County Medical Center and treated for non-life threatening injuries.
Police believe that drugs or alcohol may have been a factor in the assault.

Man Mauled By Tiger

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A man who leaped into the tiger den at the Bronx Zoo on Friday is in stable condition after being mauled by the animal, the LA Times reports.
David Villalobos, 25, was riding in a train which takes visitors on a tour of the grounds when he jumped off, clearing a 16-foot-high fence, and landed in the den.
He was alone with the tiger for about 10 minutes before being rescued by zoo officials, USA Today said.
Villalobos suffered several punctures and various injuries during the incident, and told police that he wanted to be "one with the tiger," according to reports.
The man was taken to the hospital and charged with trespassing.

Romney Fundraiser Tape Surfaces

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A recording from a $50,000-a-plate fundraiser for republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has surfaced in which the former governor claims that 47 percent of Americans will go along with whatever the president says because they believe they are entitled to government handouts including food, housing and health care, the Associated Press reports.
After jumping the gun to criticize Barack Obama's handling of the attack on the Libyan embassy last Tuesday (less than 12 hours after he said he would not do so), this is another potentially harmful blow to the republican's presidential campaign.
The video was secretly recorded in May of this year and includes statements about the victim mentality he alleges that almost half of Americans have, people which claimed are not worth trying to win over, ABC News reports.
With the election less than two months away, it will be interesting to hear how Romney responds to the claims made in the video.

Lead Analysis

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Anti-American protests have erupted in the Middle East over a crudely made film mocking the prophet Muhammad, resulting in violent embassy protests around the Middle East, fallout in the U.S. presidential campaign and heightened security at U.S. facilities abroad.
This AP lead summarizes the who, what, where, when and why elements of this complicated story effectively and sets up the "meat" of the story nicely. The what (film, protests, fallout) and why (response to blasphemous film) are addressed in detail, while the who (protesters, victims), where (Middle East) and when (now, this is ongoing) are more general. The what and why are the most important elements of this news story, so it is fitting that they would be covered in greater detail. "Have erupted" suggests that the action of the story is going in the present, so putting a specific time in the lead is not necessary. "Around the Middle East" is a vast, general area, and because these protests are going on all over the place, it is specific enough. The only person specifically mentioned in the lead is Muhammad, the defamation of which is the reason for the protests.
It is a straightforward hard-news lead and it sets up a rather lengthy story effectively by concisely summarizing the news in a single sentence.

Earlier this week topless pictures of the future Queen of England were published in a French magazine and an Irish newspaper, AP reports.
Middleton and Prince William were on vacation in France when the photos of the duchess sunbathing were taken.
The grainy photographs were taken using a a very powerful lens from approximately one kilometer from the chateau where the couple were staying, according to the Brisbane Times.
The royal family has threatened to take legal action against those publishing the photographs based on invasion of privacy.

Gophers Quarterback to Miss 2-4 Weeks

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Senior quarterback MarQueis Gray will miss 2-4 weeks due to a high-ankle sprain injury which occurred in the second quarter of Minnesota's 28-23 victory over Western Michigan on Saturday, according to the Pioneer Press.

It was a scary scene for Gopher fans as Gray had to be helped off the field. In relief, sophomore Max Shortell led Minnesota to three scoring drives and ultimately the victory.

Wrestling Announcer Suffers Heart Attack on Live Broadcast

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World Wrestling Entertainment announcer Jerry "The King" Lawler suffered a heart attack on a live broadcast of the company's "Raw" program on Monday, ABC News reports.
Lawler and broadcast partner Michael Cole were calling the action in Montreal when the veteran commentator collapsed. Doctors administered CPR to Lawler for about 10 minutes in an attempt to revive him before he was carried out of the arena on a stretcher and brought to a local hospital.
Lawler was given several shocks at the hospital until his heart began beating at a regular pace, the LA Times Reports.
Despite the lengthy period of cardiac arrest, Lawler suffered no brain damage, and is expected to recover.
Lawler, 62, is one of WWE's longest tenured employees and is perhaps best known for his feud with comedian Any Kaufman in the 1980's.


YouTube excerpts of "Innocence of Muslims", a short film which mocks the prophet Muhammad, were shown on an Egyptian television station last week and has since been the subject of anti-American protests in several nations in the Middle East and the rest of the world, AP reports.
The film supposedly traces the beginnings of Islam in a manner which is meant to offend and depicts Muhammad as a fraud, a womanizer and a ruthless killer.
Since being shown last week, US embassies have been the target of protests, most notably in Libya, where four Americans were killed and three were injured.
The man behind the film, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, has been in contact with FBI agents, but has yet to be arrested or detained, the LA Times said.
Nakoula, who is on probation for bank fraud charges, was not to own or use devices with access to the internet without the permission of his probation officer and may be in violation of his terms of release. The case is under review.
The video has been temporarily removed from YouTube in Egypt and Libya, but remains available elsewhere.

Led Zeppelin Concert Film to Hit Theaters Next Month

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Led Zeppelin, the legendary English rock band, are set to release "Celebration Day", a film which captures the group's one-off reunion concert from 2007, in October, the New York Times reports.
The highly-anticipated reunion took place at the O2 Arena in London as part of a tribute show for the recently deceased Ahmet Ertegun, founder of the band's former record label, Atlantic Records. An estimated 20 million people took part in a lottery for the 18,000 tickets that were available for the concert.
Led Zeppelin released eight studio albums in the 1970s and have record sales of over 100 million in the United States alone. A number of the group's songs including "Stairway to Heaven" and "Whole Lotta Love" remain staples of rock radio.
The group initially disbanded in 1980 following the death of drummer John Bonham. The three surviving members, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and Jon Paul Jones, along with Bonham's son, Jason, reunited for the band's first full-length reunion concert since Bonham's death and received critical acclaim for their performance, Billboard said.
The film is scheduled to be released to over 1,500 theaters worldwide on October 17, followed by a DVD release on November 19.

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