November 2012 Archives

Yasser Arafat's remains to be reexamined

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Scientists are reopening the tomb of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat Tuesday to further investigate the cause of his death in 2004.
Expert teams from France, Switzerland and Russia will test samples to see if Arafat's death was caused by polonium poisoning, according to CNN.
Polonium is a radioactive element. Personal items on Arafat at the time of his death contained abnormal levels of the element, according to CNN.
The discovery prompted Arafat's widow to call for further investigation in to the cause of his death.
According to a report by Al-Jazeera, the exhumation process is being handled very secretly.
The Palestinian Authority, which is in charge of the West Bank where Arafat is buried, was limiting who could attend the exhumation.
Al-Jazeera reported that because Arafat died in a French military hospital, it is up to the French legal system to decide how to continue after the results come in.

7 Great Danes rescued from Minneapolis home

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Authorities rescued seven Great Danes living in inhumane conditions in Minneapolis Monday.
The hoarder of the dogs was compliant with Minneapolis Animal Care and Control in handing over the dogs, but could still be charged with animal cruelty according to the Star Tribune.
The Pioneer Press reported that the two puppies of the group have already been adopted.
The other five are being handed over to the Great Dane Rescue of Minnesota and Wisconsin.
The Star Tribune reported that with the dogs from Minneapolis, the rescue organization based in Siren, WIs., will have 15 dogs awaiting adoption.
Minneapolis Animal Care and Control advises that people shouldn't house more animals than they can realistically take care of, according to the Pioneer Press.

Using bikes to attract businesses in Minneapolis

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Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak said in a report by MinnPost that the city is using biking infrastructure to attract new businesses and young workers.
According to the report, young professionals are increasingly moving to cities and are more likely to spend money on new technology and expensive bicycles than cars.
This talented pool of the younger generation is exactly who companies are now looking to hire.
Mayor R.T. Rybak told MinnPost that is part of the reason behind why Minneapolis has invested more in biking over the last several years.
Minneapolis consistently is ranked among the best cities for biking in the U.S., with over 180 miles of bike trails so far and double that planned.
The article goes on to describe how other cities are also investing in biking infrastructure with the same intents and purposes.
"We want young talent to come here and stay. And good biking is one of the least expensive ways to send that message," said the mayor to MinnPost.

Obama visits Myanmar to acknowledge reforms

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President Barack Obama begins his trip to Myanmar Sunday, making him the first sitting U.S. president to visit the country.
This is the first foreign trip for the President since being elected to a second term.
According to a report by The Guardian, President Obama said he is not visiting the country because they have achieved a fair democracy, but because they are taking steps in the right direction.
The New York Times reported that the president made a point to visit, in addition to government leaders, the home of dissident Daw Aung San Suu Kyi who was under house arrest for almost twenty years. She was freed two years ago.
However, there are still more than 200 political prisoners in government custody and questionable human rights in areas of the country, according to The New York Times.
According the The Guardian, Obama acknowledged that "the country has a long way to go."

Analysis: Cultural Reporting

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The New York Times published a story Saturday about the effects that Hurricane Sandy had on Haitian farmers.
The story is mainly about damages and losses inflicted upon the already struggling Haitians who live in rural areas and work with agriculture.
The common perception of Haiti right now is that of an impoverished nation. This news story does little to break that stereotype, although in reality most Haitians really are still struggling from natural disasters past, in addition to Sandy.
This story does not delve much deeper in to the culture other than the challenges farmers in Haiti face.
This may be because it is only a two-page story, but it only portrays Haitians who have lost a lot and now rely on prayer for help. This does not go much farther than how most Americans already view Haitians.
For example, one man interviewed for the story is a farmer with a family of eight to feed. Tragically, most of his crops were wiped out in the storm.
"At night I pray to God and ask what can I do?" is the only quote in the story from this man, who most likely had a lot more insight in to the situation.
For sources, the reporter had interviewed several farmers and people who were hit hard by the storm in rural Haiti. Four are quoted in the story, and the stories of several more specific people are referenced.
There are also a number of official sources used, such as two United Nations workers and the Prime Minister of Haiti. A report by the international aid organization Oxfam is also referenced.

MOA to tighten restrictions on teens during holiday season

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All unaccompanied teenagers under age 16 are not allowed in the Mall of America all day on Black Friday, as well as the week between Christmas and New Year's.
The new policy was prompted by an incident last Dec. 27 when fights involving more than 200 teens erupted around the mall, according to the Star Tribune.
These restrictions on teens normally are in place only on Friday and Saturday evenings.
The Mall of America is always busy on Black Friday. According to the Pioneer Press, last year 219,000 people visited the day after Thanksgiving last year.
All of the mall's stores will be open by 6 a.m. on Friday except for Nordstrom's, and over 180 stores are opening by midnight.
Police say that with such a hectic time at the mall, the policy is best for everyone's safety and enjoyment.

A vote by the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) on Monday to significantly alter flight patterns at the airport caught the Minneapolis City Council by surprise.
The exact changes that the vote will cause are still unclear, according to a report by MinnPost.
The Star Tribune reported that even though MAC held two open house on the matter, City Council members complain that they were not properly advertised.
There are also very little details about which neighborhoods would be more affected by the changes, for the better or for the worse.
Many City Council members are simply confused by the lack of information.
"There's just been no information to anyone at all," downtown representative Lisa Goodman told the Star Tribune.

Gen. David Patraeus slips up with Broadwell affair

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The full story of Gen. David Patraeus' affair with Paula Broadwell continues to unravel after Patraeus resigned as head of the CIA over the weekend.
The BBC reported that the FBI uncovered the affair after a woman named Jill Kelley, a friend of Patraeus' wife, told them of anonymous harassing emails which turned out to be from Broadwell.
Broadwell and Patraeus got to know each other while Broadwell, an Army reservist with little experience in journalism, was a graduate student at Harvard.
She then spent a lot of time around Patraeus while writing his biography which concerned many in his staff, according to a report by The Washington Post.
Patraeus has been married for 38 years. Broadwell is also married and a mother of two, according to the BBC.
Patraeus' successful military career, highlighted by admirable leadership in Iraq and Afghanistan, had drawn speculation of a possible future run for president.

Analysis: Numbers

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This story was a report in The New York Times on a recent health study that used numbers in several different ways.
The study found that a what a person eats could affect their chances of surviving colon cancer.
The numbers are not the major part of the story, but the ones that are used are highly specified.
For example, a major tool used in the study was the glycemic index measurement, which gages the rate that foods with carbohydrates raise the level of blood sugar and insulin.
The reporter made all of these specific numbers easier to grasp by focusing more on the more general point to the math.
According to the report, the study participants who ate the most carbohydrates and glycemic-heavy foods had an 80 percent higher risk of dying from colon cancer.
The reporter did not do much further manipulation of the data. The numbers used are from the study.
This study was published in The Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

After an overwhelming amount of support from minority, female and young voters for President Obama on Election Day, many in the Republican party are calling for a change in the party on critical issues for those voters.
According to a report by The New York Times, 71 percent of Latino voters supported Obama at the polls.
This has caused many conservative leaders to call for a different position of immigration reform, including those as prominent as the speaker of the House John A. Boehner.
MinnPost also reported Minnesota's former Governor Tim Pawlenty has said the GOP needs to better serve the needs of these groups and heed the "warning signs on the dashboard."
An additional MinnPost report determined that the failure of the Republican Party in this election could not be solely attributed to the candidates.

Reputed gang member arrested for violent tattoo

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Police arrested a reputed gang member after he posted a picture of his graphic tattoo on Facebook.
The Pioneer Press reported that Antonio Frasion Jenkins Jr., 20, was charged with making a terroristic threat for the benefit of a gang.
The bicep tattoo showed a person holding a gun to the mouth of a pig wearing a Minneapolis police uniform, including the misspelled name and badge number of a police officer who works in the Third Precinct, according to the Star Tribune.
The Third Precinct covers much of South Minneapolis, and is an area claimed by the 'Bloods' gang.
According to report by the Star Tribune, there are many questions as to how the police will be able to proceed.
A professor from the University of Minnesota's Law School told the Pioneer Press that since Jenkins publicly displayed his tattoo, the private nature and free speech aspect of it is undermined.

Man in 2011 Arizona shooting rampage sentenced to life

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Jared Lee Loughner, the man who went on a shooting rampage in Arizona in 2011 and shot then-congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in the head, was sentenced Thursday to life in prison without parole.
The incident occurred last January while Giffords was at a supermarket parking lot in Tucson in a normal campaign appearance when Loughner opened fire, wounding 13 and killing six according to the Los Angeles Times.
The Washington Post reported that several of the wounded spoke at the hearing. Giffords did not speak, but her husband, a former astronaut, did.
Giffords resigned her seat in the House of Representatives after the shooting.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Giffords has undergone a miraculous recovery and extensive rehabilitation.
According to The Washington Post, Arizona has some of the least strict gun laws in the country. Loughner, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia after the rampage, was carrying 93 rounds with him during the incident.

Minnesota votes down marriage amendment

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Early Wednesday morning, Minnesota became the first state to vote down a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman.
The Associated Press called the amendment's defeat just before 2 a.m., according to a report by MinnPost.
Richard Carlbom, head of the 'vote no' campaign for Minnesotans United for All Families, told MinnPost that, "Tonight, Minnesota proved that love is bigger than government."
Only about 47 percent of Minnesotans voted for the amendment, according to the Minnesota Daily.
Gay marriage is still illegal under Minnesota state law, yet opponents of the amendment told MinnPost that this race marked just the beginning.
Maine and Maryland both passed measures to legalize gay marriage.

U.N. Rights Officer expelled from South Sudan

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The government of new nation South Sudan expelled a United Nations human rights officer, according to a United Nations statement released Sunday.
Although the exact reason for the expulsion is still unconfirmed, Al-Jazeera reported that South Sudan accused the unidentified officer of publishing "unjustified" and "unethical" human rights reports.
One such report was published by the United Nations in June and accused the South Sudan army of several atrocities while trying to quell ethic violence, according to a report by The New York Times.
South Sudan gained independence last year from Sudan after decades of brutal civil war.
Al-Jazeera reported that there have been multiple allegations of harassment of the media and civilians by the army as well.
This is not the first tense incident between the United Nations and South Sudan. A United Nations human rights officer was beat up by the South Sudan police last year, according to The New York Times.

Cancelled marathon leads runners to help with storm relief

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Despite the cancellation of the New York City Marathon, many runners were still in the area Sunday to help with Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.
According to The New York Times, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg cancelled the marathon Friday in response to anger on the event proceeding despite so many New Yorkers still struggling in the wake of the storm.
The Wall Street Journal reported that many runners still ran the race route Sunday, some even wore their marathon bib numbers.
Many New York residents and runners said in The New York Times that it would have felt wrong for so many resources that could have gone toward storm victims to be directed toward the race.

St. Paul Schools levy up for vote on Tuesday

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Tuesday's vote will determine how soon new technology comes to St. Paul Public Schools.
A $9 million per year levy increase is up to voters Tuesday, as well as a renewal of $30 million per year toward programs such as all-day kindergarten, according to the Star Tribune.
The Pioneer Press reported that St. Paul Public Schools Superintendent Valeria Silva aims to use the money for a new technology plan.
The technology would provide a learning platform for students, teachers and parents to provide more access to homework, tests and projects.
The idea is to make communication more efficient and to reach each student on an individual level, according to the Star Tribune.
Other districts have held out on such platforms since the technology continues to rapidly develop.

Analysis: News Obituary

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John H. Reed, former governor of Maine, died at the age of 91 Wednesday in a hospital in Washington, D.C.
The news obituary published by the Washington Post was written by the Associated Press.
The article uses more official sources who knew Reed such as the current governor of Maine and a current U.S. Senator from Maine.
This differs from a paid death notice in that information came from people who knew Reed professionally and not only from what was submitted by his family.
The lead includes information about his career and not only the standard straight facts of a paid death notice lead.
However, this obituary was similar to a standard one due to the information about the memorial service at the end.
The news value is greater than a standard obituary because of the prominence of the deceased. He was an elected official and served in several national positions.
There are quotes and information from people associated with Reed, making it different from a resume. Also, resumes do not traditionally include background information but this obituary detailed where Reed was born and raised.

Meningitis outbreak leading to second illness

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Patients successfully treated during the meningitis outbreak are developing other spinal illnesses.
The number of cases are unclear, but most have occurred in Michigan and Tennessee according to a report by National Public Radio.
One of the complications is a localized infection of the spine, called an epidural abscess. The other is an inflammation of tissue around spinal nerve roots, an even more serious complication called arachnoiditis.
The original meningitis outbreak began in September and was caused by a contaminated steroid drug. 29 people have died and the compounding pharmacy that produced the drug has since shut down.
The New York Times reported that patients became sick again even while on strong anti-fungal treatments.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is still trying to determine which patients are more likely to develop the second illnesses.

Argentina voting age changed to 16

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Argentina's Congress voted Wednesday to lower the voting age in the country from 18 to 16.
According to a report by CNN, the new voting laws will take effect for a key mid-term election next year.
Voting will be optional for the more than one million 16- and 17-year-olds eligible to vote, according to the BBC. Voting is obligatory for those aged 18 to 70.
CNN reported that supporters favor the higher level of political participation now available to young people.
Critics accuse President Cristina Fernandez of supporting the change only to court the youth vote and up her party's chances in next year's elections.
Argentina is not the only Latin American country with a lower voting age. Citizens of Brazil, Ecuador and Nicaragua can also vote at the age of 16.

With Election Day rapidly approaching next week, Republican incumbent Chip Cravaack is fighting to keep his 8th District congressional seat from Democratic challenger Rick Nolan.
According to a report by the Minnesota Daily, the 8th Congressional District is historically left-leaning.
Cravaack won the seat two years ago, upsetting then 18-term incumbent Jim Oberstar, a Democrat.
MinnPost reported that independent polls show Nolan with a lead about the size of the margin of error in the race.
Cravaack's camp does not believe the polls and sees itself as having a comfortable lead in the district.
Both reports noted the sizable amount of outside money pouring in to the race; over $9.1 million since August according to MinnPost.
The 8th District is large, covering an area from North Branch north to the Canadian border. According to the Daily, the major industries of the area are mining, timber and tourism. Before Cravaack, the district had a Democratic representative for 60 years.

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