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December 9, 2007

Canada farmer found guilty for murder

A Canadian pig farmer was found guilty of second-degree murder of six women, and is awaiting a possible trial for the deaths of 20 others, according to BBC news and CBC news.

The remains of the six women were found on Robert Pickton's property by police in 2002.

The verdict came after a week of deliberation, and 10 months of testimony, including almost 130 witnesses, thousands of pieces of forensic evidence and video of Pickton telling police that he had hoped to kill 50 women.

Murder conviction in Canada requires a life-sentence, so Pickton will serve at least 6, depending on if he goes to trial for the 20 other murders of which he is suspected.

Most of the women that Pickton is accused of killing were prostitutes and drug addicts from Vancouver.

He was charged with first-degree murder, but the jury did not have enough evidence to prove that these murders were pre-planned, and found him guilty of second-degree murder.

I thought both of these stories were structured well, and very easy to read and understand.

November 18, 2007

Whale in The Amazon

A whale that swam about 1,000 miles up the Amazon River has gotten stuck twice, and Brazil's Environmental Protection Agency lost track of the animal and called off their search on Friday, according to CNN and BBC.

Experts say the whale could have been in the area for a coupe of months.

The minke whale, which is the second smallest of the baleen whales, was trapped from Wednesday until Friday near the city of Santarem. Local residents splashed water on its back to keep it from drying in the hot sun.

After it was freed, the whale disappeared from sight, and helicopters searched for it with no luck, until Sunday, when it was found stuck again.

Though this is not the first time a large ocean animal has swam up the Amazon, it is a rare occurrence.

November 4, 2007

King Tut's Face Unveiled to the Public

For the first time in history, the face of Ancient Egypt's most famous ruler, King Tutankhamen, will be on public display, according to BBC and AHN.

The mummy was placed in a climate-controlled case inside his tomb in Luxor's Valley of the Kings 85 years after the tomb was discovered by British explorer Howard Carter.

Before this event, only about 50 living people have seen the face of King Tut.

It is believed that he died over 3,000 years ago, at about the age of 19.

This was partly a plan to protect the remains. Archaeologists said the heat and the humidity brought into the tomb by about 5,000 tourists a day were harmful to the body.

The King's body was x-rayed in 1968. A shard of bone was found in his skull, leading some to believe that he was killed by a blow to the head, murdered, as some speculated, for religious reasons.

However a CT scan done in 2005 led some researchers to believe he was not murdered, but could have died of complications from a broken leg.

Though all researchers did not agree on this theory, they all said they rejected the idea that he was murdered.

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.

October 14, 2007

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.

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.

September 30, 2007

Ten Peacekeepers Killed in Darfur

A group of 1,000 rebels attacked an African Union peacekeeping base in the Darfur region of Sudan over Saturday night and early Sunday morning, as it stated on CNN's website.
It was the deadliest attack in the AU's three-year mission. At least eight people were injured, and about 25 AU peacekeepers were reported missing, said AU spokesman Assane Ba.

"There is a war going on between the rebels and the government, and the AU is crunched in the middle," an AU spokesperson said.

This is currently the largest peacekeeping operation in the world.

For extensive background information on the Darfur conflict, Wikipedia does a good job explaining it in detail.

September 23, 2007

Middle-East Peace Talks May Be in the Future

According to BBC News' website,representatives from The United States, Europe, Russia and The United Nations met in New York on Sunday to discuss a US-led peace summit plan. The plan would include inviting an Arab League panel. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that Syria and Saudi Arabia would be the "natural invitees," adding that 'those taking part must be committed to a two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians.'

BBC diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus said, "'With the Palestinians divided and with Israel designating the Gaza Strip as hostile territory, the climate is not encouraging."

Yahoo! News said Saudi Arabia will likely skip the conference, scheduled for November, if it does not deal with the status of Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees, based on what Saud al-Faisal, Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, said on Wednesday. He continues with, "the kingdom sees no benefit in any peace meeting or conference if it is not comprehensive and if it doesn't tackle major issues."

Also mentioned on the Yahoo! story was a quote from an unnamed western diplomat: "The conference's only chance of success is for it to be an endorsement of a deal accepted by both parties," who continued by saying that anything less than that would result in the conference being canceled.

September 16, 2007

At Least 88 Killed In Plane Crash in Thailand

On MSNBC's website there was a story about a passenger airplane carrying 130 people crashing in an attempt to land in a rain storm. Reports say that the plane split in two and burst into flames. Some survivors remember seeing people burn as they tried to save themselves. At least 88 people, mostly tourists, died. The crash happened on the island of Phuket, the destination of the plane coming from Bangkok, as it slid off the runway while attempting to land. The crash is being blamed on poor visibility due to weather.

A more recent update on CBC News' website said that there are now 101 confirmed dead with 45 survivors, which contradicts the total number of passengers that was reported by MSNBC. As this is more recent, it is probably more accurate. The official cause of the crash is still unknown,
and weather was most likely a factor. Also it said that the flight data recorder was recovered and may give insight as to exactly what happened.