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October 29, 2007

Chessboard Killer Convicted for 48 murders

Though Alexander Pichushkin was convicted of committing 48 murders in Moscow in six years, he said that he actually killed 63 people. Prosecutors have asked for the maximum sentence of life imprisonment, with the first 15 years spent in isolation according to CNN.

The jury could deliver its verdict as early as Tuesday, News24 reported.

Pichushkin was known as the chessboard killer because he said he wanted to kill someone for every one of the 64 squares on a chessboard.

For years until his arrest in June 2006, Pichushkin terrorized the heavily forested Bitsa Park in the southern outskirts of Moscow. He said he committed all but one of his murders in the park.

He often lured homeless people with alcohol, then after getting them drunk, he beat them to death and put their bodies in the park.

The crucial information that lead to his arrest came in 2005, when a woman he had worked with at a vegetable store was found dead. She had left a note at her home that stated she was going for a walk with Pichushkin.

Pichushkin said he was aware of that note, but he killed her anyway.

Possible Charges in Nanny-ad Killing

A teenager in savage Minnesota was arrested for suspected involvement with the death of Katherine Ann Olson.
Police said charges could be filed as early as Monday.

A friend of the suspect, Steve McCutchan, 20, spoke with the Star Tribune. He said he was shocked and that he can not believe he did it.

The suspect has not been named by Savage police, but they said he was 19 and a resident of Savage.

Olson was killed while responding to an ad for a nanny on craigslist.org. She was found dead in the trunk of her car by police at Kraemer Nature Preserve in Burnsville about 10 p.m. Friday.

Olson's friends have made posts on the popular website cautioning people to be careful when responding to such ads.

The Houston Chronicle reported that this was the first homicide connected to craigslist.og, though it has been used to advertise prostitution and set up robberies.

Seven Students Dead in Beach House Fire

Six of the seven students that died from the fire in Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina were from the University of South Carolina, according to CNN and The Washington Post.

The seventh is believed to be a Clemson University student, said Dennis A. Pruitt, the vice president for student affairs at USC.

There were six survivors, all of them USC students. One of the survivors escaped the house by jumping into a waterway.

The fire was discovered by newspaper deliveryman Tim Burns. He saw it early Sunday morning and tried to approach the door but the flames were too intense, he told the Associated Press.

Ocean Isle Beach Mayor Debbie Smith said officials had not yet contacted all the victims' families, and they were not yet releasing their names.

Smith also said that officials are investigating the cause of the fire.

October 28, 2007

KQRS Morning Show Upsets Native American Leaders

Native American leaders said they plan to protest in front of the KQRS building at 10 a.m. Monday in response to comments made on-air by morning-show hosts Tom Barnard and Terri Traen, according to the Star Tribune's website and the Bemidji Pioneer's website.

Representatives of the American Indian Movement (AIM), the Red Lake Indian Reservation and urban Indian leaders said they hope to meet with executives from the classic-rock station at its headquarters in southeast Minneapolis, AIM co-founder Clyde Bellecourt said Sunday.

In a broadcast last month, Barnard and Traen commented on the Red Lake and Shakopee tribes while discussing a report by the state Health Department that Beltrami County has the state's highest rate of suicide among young people.

Traen made comments about incest affecting suicide and Barnard said that Mystic Lake Casino doesn't help the tribe in the rest of the state. The station has not yet issued a response.

"Bellecourt said Red Lake has received nearly $4 million in grants from the Shakopee tribe since 2004 toward building a new Boys and Girls Club, assisting with the recent rebirth of the tribe's walleye fishing industry and creating a center in Bemidji to address sexual assault."

He said he and other leaders are pushing for the station executives to take "swift action" against the show and its hosts, as this is not the first time they have been accused of racial and ethnic insensitivity. They have also made politically incorrect comments about the Hmong and Somali populations.

October 14, 2007

Suspect Arrested for Rape at Light-rail

A 20-year-old man was arrested in connection with a rape at a Minneapolis light-rail station, which can be read about on the Star Tribune website.

The Minneapolis man was arrested by St. Paul police on Friday afternoon and is being held in Hennepin County Jail pending charges.

The investigation is being conducted by Metro Transit Police, who said the woman was abducted at gunpoint at 1:55 a.m. on Oct. 4.

She then went to a friend's house and called authorities and was taken to the hospital.

This was the first rape involving the light-rail since it started running in 2004.

An A.P. story on WCCO's website did a good job using quotes to cover this story, but had less information overall. They also mentioned that the victim was a 44-year-old woman, which the Strib did not.

Bush Vetos Healthcare for Children

President Bush vetoed a bipartisan bill that would renew healthcare programs for millions of uninsured children on Wednesday, acording to the Associated Press. The Senate had the required two-thirds majority vote to override the veto, but the House did not. Both are required to override a veto.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said the veto was "heartless."

Bush said that he does not believe that this plan would help poor children, and that it would lead to public healthcare, which he opposes. He said he is willing to compromise with the Democratic bill.

The bill proposed that $35 billion be used over five years to give healthcare to 40 million children, which would be funded by increasing the federal cigarette tax by 61 cents a pack.

Bush did not make any vetos until being in office for six years. This is the fourth, the first three being two against the expansion of embryotic stem cell research and one against the withdrawl of troops from Iraq.

The Australian's website conflicts with the A.P. story, saying that the plan would cover 10 million children. It also said that Bush proposed a $5 billion increase in healthcare spending over five years, which was critized as being insufficient to cover the children currently on the plan.

Theater Bombing In Northern India

At least six people died and 30 others were wounded Sunday in northern India in a movie theater bombing, which can be read about on CNN's website
This was the second apparent terror attack on northern India this week. Days earlier, a Muslim shrine was bombed in the state of Rajasthan, which killed two people.

Sunday's bombing happened on Eid al-Fitr, a Muslim holy day that marks the end of Ramadan, at the Shringar cinema in Ludhiana. The theater was "packed" with people who came to see a Bollywood romance film.

India television reported scenes of broken windows and glass doors, and said that some of the wounded lost limbs.

No one has claimed responsibility for either attack and officials said that there is no evidence that they are connected.

Though this story can be read in other places, they all seem to come from the same A.P. story, and the one on CNN is as complete as any other version.

Volunteer Crushed by Caboose

A man was crushed to death by a small-gauge rail caboose on Saturday afternoon while trying to stop it from tipping over around a curve, as you can read about on the Star Tribune website.

William Paget, 68, of Savage, Minn. was working as the brakeman on the caboose just west of Northfield.


The Caboose was the only car attached to the engine as it rolled around a curve at less than walking speed, and started to tip, Rice County Sheriff's Office said.

Paget tried to stop it from tipping over, and was crushed by the car that was carrying three adults and five children.
He was pronouned dead at the scene on a private lot in Webster Township.

The Star Tribune did not mention if passengers in the car were injured, but Kare 11's story said that none of them were injured.

Their version also mentioned that this event was an annual demonstration and that it is still under inverstigation by the Rice County Sheriff's Office.

October 7, 2007

Basque Leaders Arrested in Spain

On CNN's website, there is a story about 23 leaders of an outlawed Basque group who were arrested for suspicion of aiding an armed separatist group. Authorities raided a Basque meeting on Thursday in the town of Segura and arrested the leaders, who were suspected of "secretly trying to transfer the leadership of the outlawed Batasuna party from veteran activists present to a new set of leaders," who were also at the meeting.

What I found most interesting about this story was that all the new information was attributed to an unnamed, vaguely qualified "judicial source," who gave no direct quotes. The only quote in the whole story was a single word from an announcement made last year. For every other piece of attributable information, it stated, "the source said."

The New York Times did a much better job of finding and naming sources on the topic and using quotes in their version of the story. Again, this shows how responsible attribution and use of quotes not only make a story more credible, but also more complete and interesting to read.

Woman Loses Trial Over Music Piracy

In a story on the Star Tribune's website, it states that Jammie Thomas from Brainard, Minn. was ordered to pay $222,000 to the Recording Industry Association of America for illegally downloading 24 songs. She said that she has not decided if she will appeal the claims of "willfully" violating copyright laws. This is considered symbolic to the industry, as she is the first individual to be sued for illegal downloading, but many experts feel it doesn't change anything when it comes to downloading music.

I appreciate how the article had quotes from many different experts, officials, and people involved, but I also found it confusing. Towards the end, a different person was being introduced and quoted every sentence. Also, the quotes did not seem to follow a structure. It felt awkward to read. There was also two times when ellipses were used in quotes. I found this distracting, as, the first time they are used in the middle of a sentence, and the second time they are used when it could have easily been broken up by ', "he said. "'

On Ars Technica's news site, it gives a detailed re-telling of the trial. I found it easier to follow the quotes because there were less and they were in a better context with the surrounding information.

Two Stabbed in St. Paul Street Fight

An Associated Press story on the Star Tribune website reported that two people were stabbed with a sickle in St. Paul's east side during a street fight that involved 30 to 50 people. The fight happened at about 10:15 p.m. on Saturday outside a house in the 1200 block of Bush Avenue. This fact was attributed to KARE-11 news, which I found rather interesting. In fact, the entire article seemed to be attributed to KARE-11. I suppose that KARE got lucky, and were the only ones to get the tip and/or information about the incident.

On the Pioneer Press website, it has basically the same information as the Strib, but it relates the information to a specific police spokesperson, and includes extra little details, such as the 16-year-old that was hit in the head with a lawn mower and didn't wish to speak to the police and that police are hesitant to call the incident gang related. These details and specific attributions give the story a more personal touch than the A.P. story.