June 2012 Archives

The recently elected President of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi, took an oath of office in front of the Constitutional Court on Saturday, but not before he spoke his own oath to thousands of Egyptian citizens gathered in Tahrir Square, NPR News reported.

Morsi is the first civilian president to be elected into power following the removal of the former president Hosni Mubarak, NPR News said.

While the victory is significant, Morsi faces extreme challenges in gaining full leadership of the Egyptian government. The Constitutional Court that President Morsi took the oath in front if is the same government body that disbanded the parliament preceding Morsi's election, The New York Times said.

The Court also had transferred much of the president's control to military generals, which Morsi and many civilians have claimed as an illegitimate decree, the New York Times said.

In the coming months the revolution of Egypt will continue as President Mohamed Morsi tries to achieve a democracy for his country and his people.

Police arrested two teen boys on Friday in the death of 5-year-old Nizzel George who was shot Tuesday morning after one of many bullets penetrated the home he was sleeping in, police said.

The arrests were made after the police received numerous tips from neighbors of the north Minneapolis home, MPR News said.

The two boys are being held on suspicion of murder and of weapon possession. The charges may be finalized as early as Monday, police said.

While the news of the arrests came as a relief for many friends and family of Nizzel, The Star Tribune reported that the motive for the shooting still remains unknown.

Rachel Bootsma placed second in the 100-meter backstroke finals on Wednesday, which will send her to the 2012 Olympic games.

The Eden Prairie teen, 18, finished the race in 59.49 seconds, The Star Tribune said. She followed quickly behind her friend, Missy Franklin, whose time was 58.85 seconds: an American record.

"I could have swam the race with a little more savvy," Bootsma acknowledged. Nerves were to blame, the young swimmer said.

Bootsma and Franklin out swam the two-time defending Olympic champion, Natalie Coughlin, who placed third in the race only .55 seconds behind Bootsma, the Pioneer Press said.

10 Postal workers Began a four-day hunger strike on Monday in Washington D. C. to protest against the Unites States Postal Service plan to cut thousands of jobs and consolidate plants.

The postal workers, who call themselves Community and Postal Workers United, will be demonstrating at the Capitol through out the week, as well as in front of the Postal Service Headquarters and the offices of The Washington Post, said CNN.

The postal workers participating in the hunger strike are primarily protesting against the healthcare pre-fund mandate which requires the Postal Service to pre-pay retiree healthcare and benefit funds, NPR News reported.

By removing this mandate, the postal workers believe that it would solve many of the financial difficulties the U.S. Postal Service is facing right now. These issues have prompted a plan that will consolidate or close 229 plants and cut 28,000 jobs within the next two years, beginning next week, said CNN.

Tom Dodge, 58, is one of the postal workers participating in the hunger strike. "Rallies and marches just aren't working anymore," Dodge said. "It's time to take a stand on this."

Attribution Analysis

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In the news story about the Colorado Wildfire, the sources are almost entirely institutional, coming from various fire departments that are in charge of the fire.

The sources that are named are a spokesman for the Manitou Springs Fire Department and a fire information officer from El Paso County. This specific article is informing readers that new evacuations have been made. Because it is primarily trying to update people on the latest events, the article is relatively brief which doesn't leave much room for sources that are not providing hard facts and information.

The sources are dispersed regularly through the story but alternate from specific, named, sources to more broad titles, like "officials." However, there are portions of the story that are not attributed obviously. This allows for some speculation on where and how the writer obtained the facts, but again because this is an informative updating story about one specific event, it seems understood that the reporter was talking to one kind of institution and that was the fire departments.

The Saudi Olympic Committee determined Sunday that they will allow qualified women athletes to compete in the London Olympic Games for the first time in the Country's history.

Over the past few months more international pressure has been placed on Saudi Arabia with claims of gender discrimination within the Saudi Olympic Team, which could have lead to disqualification from the 2012 games, said BBC News.

The conservative religious bloc of Saudi Arabia discourages women from participating in sports, and attending gyms. The country still has women banned from driving as well, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The women athletes who compete will still abide by religious expectations and be dressed in clothing that will "preserve their dignity," BBC News said.

The allowance of Saudi women to compete in the Olympics is a historical step forward in the country's women rights movement, but the Wall Street Journal reported that only one woman, show-jumper, Dalma Rushdi Malhas, has met the qualifications to actually take advantage of this new opportunity.

Malhas was the first Saudi woman to compete in Youth Olympics. That year, 2010, she spoke of one day competing with her country's male, Olympic team, to "prove that all women athletes, all over the world, should be given equal opportunities." This year in London, she will prove those words to be true.

The violent attack on a resort hotel near Kabul which left more than 20 people dead on Thursday was apparently targeted for its participation in prostitution and parties, the Taliban said in a statement on their web page.

The New York Times reported that seven, male, insurgents stormed the Spozhmai Hotel late Thursday night, killing mostly young men, which included three unarmed hotel security guards and six military policemen. The attackers also took 45 people hostage.

Early Friday morning, combined forces of Afghan National Police, Norwegian special forces, and American helicopters, were able to secure the resort after each attacker was killed by the detonation of their own explosive vests, journalist at the scene said.

All hostages were rescued and only 10 people were wounded, police said.

A BBC News reporter, Quentin Sommerville, confirmed the specific hotel was attacked because the Taliban regarded it as an "immoral" place.

Sommerville acknowledged the loss of life, but contended that the incident "falls far short of the large-scale attacks that have taken place in the Afghan capital."

"It appears designed to inflict as many casualties as possible, and grab headlines," Sommerville said.

Trader Joe's Proposal for Lyn-Lake Area Denied

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The proposal to build a Trader Joe's grocery store on the corner of Lyndale Avenue S. and 27th Street in Minneapolis was rejected Thursday by the City Council's Zoning and Planning Committee, the Star Tribune reported.

The 26,000 square foot space that would be needed for Trader Joe's and their connected liquor store would require significant rezoning to be done, which Council Member Meg Tuthill dubs as the primary issue with the business proposal, saying that rezoning in that specific area would be "unhealthy."

The Department of Community Planning and Economic Development (CPED) supported the admittance of Trader Joe's into the Lyn-Lake neighborhood on grounds that rezoning would not violate any of the six city plans specific to that area, Minn Post said.

A member of the property owners, Jeff Minea, said that "the Committee's vote was against jobs, against new business and against amenities."

The stretch of street that Trader Joe's would have occupied presently consists of a laundromat, an art-supply store, Soccer Planet, a T-shirt store and a tea shop, Minn Post said.

Duluth Flooding Engulfed Zoo with Animals Inside

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The city of Duluth was declared to be in a state of emergency by Gov. Mark Dayton on Wednesday after storms caused heavy flooding through out the city, including the Lake Superior Zoo where at least 13 animals drowned.

The barnyard exhibit was where the highest amount of water accumulated resulting in the death of goats, sheep, a miniature donkey, and possibly two birds, said Duluth News Tribune. Peter Pruett, the zoo's director of animal management, said that water levels reached 14 feet off the ground in some places. Even for the animals that survived, there was obvious difficulty involved as high water marks were observed in many of the exhibits, said a lead zookeeper Maicie Sykes.

"They went through a nightmare of their own," she said, referring to the survivors. "It is completely devastating."

Zoo officials were made aware of the dilemma after a driver discovered a frightened seal on the side of the road around 3 a.m., reported the Star Tribune. The death toll could have risen much higher if the zoo officials and keepers had not been alerted when they were.

In the last few days military leaders in Egypt have made two decrees that drastically reduce the power of the future president while increasing theirs. The military's actions instigated The Muslim Brotherhood to rally protests on Tuesday.

BBC News reported on the two decrees made by The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF). One eliminated parliament for reasons that dub the lower house "unconstitutional". The second gives military generals entire control over legislative and military actions.

Protests have taken place on Tuesday in Tahir Square as the Brotherhood attempts to oppose the decrees and to "rekindle a revolution" The Los Angeles Times said.

There are rising concerns from egyptian citizens and activist groups alike who doubt the sincerity of the Brotherhood, saying that their religious agenda prohibits the group from fighting for the original desires of the Egyptian people, like democracy, civil rights, and freedom of speech.

A BBC correspondent lends some meager hope with his belief that there may "end up being a messy compromise that everyone can live with."

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo (NAHB) builder sentiment index released Monday said that the index for June is the highest it has been since May 2007, reported NPR News. The increase has been occurring for seven of the past nine months.

Barry Rutenberg, chairman of The National Association of Home Builders has said that in specific housing markets, there is a "gradual improvement" which he accredits to low prices and interests rates. The index is primarily a survey given out every month to home builders across the country to record what the overall sentiment is about the housing market. NHAB has been distributing the survey for the past 25 years.

While the June index is a positive step and encouraging news, the index is still only at 29. For the housing market to be in good condition, the index has to has to be at 50.

In early June, TIME Magazine reported on the rapidly increasing rental rates in the United States. The average rental rate rose 6 percent in May and in some states rental prices rose over 10 percent.

Such extreme increases, makes one wonder why more people are continuing to rent rather than flock to the low pricing and interest rates of the housing market.

According NAHB's Chief Economist David Crowe builders are reporting that "overly tight lending conditions and inaccurate appraisals" are some of the primary deterrents in the market. In addition, the economy as a whole is still suffering and foreclosures are still fresh in people's minds. When NAHB's index reaches a number more near the status "good" people will be ready to take a risk again.

Leads Analysis

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In the news report on Rodney King's unexpected death, NPR's Stephanie Federico, wrote the lead directly and to the point. Her lead included who (Rodney King), what (his death), where (in his pool in Rialto, California), and when (Sunday). The only details she included were that he died in his pool, that the news was reported by police, and that Rodney King was 47 years old when he died. Federico left his name, death, and the time very general but explicit.

The lead was immediately followed by a one sentence history of who Rodney King was with a hyperlinked video of King being brutally beaten by police in 1991. Federico continued the story by providing more details on King's death.

The lead worked successfully because it informed the reader instantly what had happened with enough detail to keep the reader's interest. The inclusion of the pool and King's age were two points that made the lead stand out and engaging. Also, by including the brief history directly after the lead, readers were able to recall the importance of the news and thus feel inclined to continue reading.

'Anytown' Returning to The Guthrie

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Shapiro and Smith's resurrection of 'Anytown' comes at a relatable time for most.The presidential run is in full swing, the economy is still on a roller coaster, human rights still need activists, wars are still being waged, and families are still being broken and reassembled.

'Anytown' brings to the stage stories of middle class American families and all the nuances of day to day life. It is the commonality mixed with theatrics that makes the narrative of this dance realistic and enjoyable. The musical combination of Bruce Springsteen, Patti Scialfa, and Soozie Tyrell, lends to the "hard-hitting and uplifting" energy of the overall work, said the The Star Tribune.

The Guthrie Theater will be hosting 'Anytown' from June 21 to June 24.

Prehistoric Cave Art Supposedly Made by Neanderthals

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The National Geographic has reported that new dating of Spanish cave art has rendered it the oldest on record and also supports that not only did Neanderthals have the ability to create art but that they possibly preceded Homo sapiens in making it.

Alistair Pike, lead author of the study, used a form of dating that measures the decay of uranium, specifically in calcium deposits. This method dated the oldest artwork at 40,800 years old. Pike and his team are continuing their study to prove their found dates to be accurate, and to search for more artwork produced in this time.

If Neanderthals began to make art without the influence of humans, then they and humans are more similar than ever thought before, leading some to even investigate the possibility of Neanderthals and humans being of the same specie but with "racial variance."

However, some skeptics believe that it is too early in the study to connect Neanderthals to the artwork said NPR News. Archaeologist Pat Shipman posed the question that if Neanderthals had been around for thousands of years already, then "...why would they suddenly start doing it (cave art) at that time?"

More evidence will either prove skeptics like Shipman correct and keep Neanderthals and humans separate and distinct, or it will connect the two ancestries in ways not yet known.

On Friday Morning the Obama administration announced a policy change on immigration that will safeguard almost 800,000 young, undocumented, immigrants from being deported while also providing them with work permits, The Huffington Post reported.

To be eligible for the deportation waiver, a person must have lived in the United States for five continuous years, was under the age of 16 when brought to the United States, is younger than 30 years old, has no criminal history, graduated from high school or earned a GED, or served in the military. The policy will not however provide, nor lead to citizenship.

Immediate disapproval was voiced by Lamar Smith, U.S. Representative R-San Antonio, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, by calling the shift in policy a "breach of faith with the American people" and that it has "horrible consequences for the unemployed Americans looking for jobs," reported the Texas Tribune.

The announcement was given by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who said "Our nation's immigration laws must be enforced in a firm and sensible manner. But they are not designed to be blindly enforced without consideration given to the individual circumstances of each case."

The Texas Tribune also acknowledged the possible "political ploy" behind announcing the policy during election year but more importantly, a week prior to President Obama's speech at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Official's annual conference.

A youth leader from Glen Cary Lutheran Church was acquitted on Thursday for six charges of criminal sexual conduct which involved a 14 year old student of his, reported the Star Tribune.

The defendant, Damian Burkhalter has lost his job, his home, been divorced, and served eight months in jail since he was accused last year. Burkhalter's losses have been significant and the full acquittal is a relief, said Jill Brisbois, the defendant's attorney.

The Pioneer Press reported earlier this June, that the 14 year old girl accused Burkhalter of engaging in "regular sexual activity" with her beginning at a youth retreat and continued in places such as the church, his office, his car, and his home. However, Brisbois said that during the course of the girl's testimonies, her allegations shifted in a "significant way." The Pioneer Press also said that the girl did not speak of the incidents until a year after, and then took a month more to retrieve the name of her suspected offender, Damian Burkhalter.

Before the alleged sexual harassment began, the Burkhalters had considered adopting the young girl. Their daughter was friends with the girl as well.

When the Anoka County jury announced the acquittal of all six charges against Burkhalter, the girl was present in the courtroom.

Minnesota Ranked in Top Five Fastest Warming States

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To the average citizen living in Minnesota, this past winter prompted little complaint. But should warmer weather be reason to celebrate or to worry? A new study by Climate Central has given Minnesota, specifically, reason to be concerned as it has been ranked as the third fastest warming state in the country. The study also clearly states that this temperature increase varies between each state.

What makes Minnesota variable for such consistent climate change is the state's location and the amount of air pollution. The Star Tribune's coverage of this study, points out that while Minnesota is one of the fastest warming states, it shares this trend with the other Northern Hemisphere states and countries. By having little air pollution, Minnesota has been subject to more sun radiation, which has drastically heightened the temperatures compared to states with temporary, protective pollution.

Besides Minnesotan's tanning schedules, this shift in climate is having immediate effect on many through out the state. In the past winter celebrations, winter sporting events, and seasonal jobs (ex. snow blowing) have all been able to rely on the heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures, but with the warmer winters comes cancellations, fewer tourists, less work, and a need for adjustment.

The Washington Post made clear that the Climate Central's study only looked at the United States and this global crisis in in fact global. While Minnesota is the third fastest warming state in America, it shares this shift with many other regions across the world. Claudia Tebaldi, a coauthor of the study, said that this state specific research was meant to be a "conversation starter" and to bring more awareness to specific locations in hopes to make the global issue more tangible.

By Pilar Poeschl

In 2005 England established Civil Partnerships which has allowed gay and lesbian couples to gain many of the legal opportunities that married couples receive. The consultation submits that gay couples would be given the right to marriage, but is being strongly refused by the Church of England.

BBC has covered the main dispute between the Church of England and the government. Seemingly, the disagreements have focused more on the legalities rather than religious reasoning. The Church has said that the proposal "could be challenged in European Courts." Groups around the UK that support the traditional definition of marriage, have created a petition, with 550,000 signatures, opposing the proposal.

While the opposition from the Church seems severe, supporters of the proposal have said the church is "scaremongering." Fox News said the supporters have "pointed out that the legislation would only focus on civil marriages and would exempt religious groups from any duty to perform same-sex marriages." For this reason alone, it is fair to wonder why the Church is so opposed to a law that will not force them to act upon anything they do not want to do.

The Prime Minister, David Cameron, is a conservative himself, which is largely why a strong reaction has occurred over the proposal. However, Cameron strongly supports his stance, saying "Conservatives believe in the ties that bind us... I support gay marriage because I am a conservative."

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