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February 22, 2009

"'Slumdog' dominates Oscars with best-picture win"

"Slumdog Millionaire" took home eight Oscars tonight, including best picture and best director.

According to Yahoo News, the film also won adapted screenplay, editing, original score, cinematography and original song.

Other winners from this year's Oscars include Kate Winslet for best actress in "The Reader", Sean Penn for best actor in "Milk", Penelope Cruz for best supporting actress in "Vicky Cristina Barcelona," and Heath Ledger for best supporting actor in "the Dark Knight."

Danny Boyle, director of "Slumdog Millionaire," was thrilled with the film's recognition this evening, thanking his wonderful cast and crew and the people of Mumbai.

Analysis: "Rihanna Photo Emerges Online" - "Rihanna's Father Angry With LAPD Over Leaked Photo"

The two stories used in this analysis are from MTV News. They focus on the picture that was leaked, allegedly showing pop singer Rihanna's battered face.

The first story, originally published 02.19.09 at 11:27 p.m. ET, has the following lead: posted a photograph late Thursday (February 19) that it claims is of Rihanna shortly after her alleged February 8 altercation with Chris Brown.

The main news of the story covers the details of the photograph and how the LAPD neither authorized the release of the photo or confirmed the identity of the woman in it. The story then goes on to give background details about Chris Brown's alleged assault on Rihanna, and a statement released by Brown a week after the event.

The second story was originally published at 12:11 pm E.T. on 2.20.2009. The lead is: Rihanna's father, Ronald Fenty, is upset with the Los Angeles Police Department over the leak of a photo that apparently shows his daughter shortly after her alleged altercation with Chris Brown, according to

The original story is advanced by the second with the reactions of the victim's close family member and the controversy that has erupted from the photo's release.

The second story was not a response to a report from a competing news organization. The second story is from the same source as the first, MTV News. The second story was a response to the first, with the reaction of a source close to the victim, as previously stated.

These two stories are part of an ever-expanding collection of articles surrounding the alleged assault of Rihanna by her boyfriend, Chris Brown. Other articles about the incident have revealed details as they have emerged; a statement from Rihanna, the LAPD's investigation in to the leak of the photo and more.

"Australia mourns bushfire vitcims"

A mourning service was held at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne on Sunday to honor those who died in Australia's recent bushfires.

According to, more than 200 people died on Feb. 7, a day now known as Black Saturday. The fires that destroyed homes, land and lives are now the subject of Australia's "biggest-ever" arson investigation. reported that "one man has already been charged with starting one of the blazes and police suspect arson in at least one other case."

The 50,000 mourning service attendees included Princess Anne, on Queen Elizabeth II's behalf, Australian dignitaries and "fire survivors and rescue personnel." Lasting 90 minutes, the ceremony "included a minute's silence as well as performances by choirs from across Victoria."

Black Saturday will forever be an annual national day of mourning for Australians, with flags flying at half mast.

"Today we are united in grief, but we are also united in our determination to recover, to rebuild, and we will rebuild," Victoria Premier John Brumby said. "And we will remember today and into the future all of those who lost their lives, and who gave so much on Black Saturday."

"Boy, 11, accused of killing father's pregnant girlfriend"

According to CNN, "an 11-year-old boy is facing adult charges in the shooting death of his father's pregnant girlfriend, authorities said Saturday."

Kenzie Marie Houk, 26, who was eight months pregnant, was found dead in her bed Friday by her 4-year-old daughter. Police say that Houk was shot "once at pointblank range" in her western Pennsylvania farmhouse.

As CNN reported, the boy, whose name was withheld because he is a juvenile, was charged with "one count each of criminal homicide and homicide of an unborn child."

In Pennsylvania, anyone accused of murder or homicide, who is more than 10 years old, is charged as an adult. If the unidentified boy is convicted, he will face a maximum life sentence in prison, according to Lawrence County District Attorney John Bongivengo.

Investigators said that the weapon used in the incident belonged to the boy. It was a "youth model 20-gauge shotgun, designed for use by children."

"This is something that you wouldn't even think of in your worst nightmare, that you'd have to charge an 11-year-old with homicide," Bongivengo said. "At this point, we don't believe it's accidental."

Things You Can Find Under Your Couch: Dust, Pennies, Inmates

A missing inmate was returned to the Winona County Jail after police found him hiding underneath his couch Wednesday.

According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Ricky Lance, 27, had been "unaccounted for since late December when he left to look for work and never returned."

After a witness reported seeing Lance driving in Winona, police located the vehicle. The blue Chevrolet was stolen, and police noticed someone watching them from inside the residence by which it was parked.

Police searched the residence and found Lance hiding under his couch, promptly returning him to jail. County attorney Chuck MacLean told the Pioneer Press that "it's a 'safe assumption' he won't get work-release privileges again."

"Horror replay in Waseca murder trial: 'She remembers everything'"

The trial for the man accused of killing a Waseca father and son will begin Monday in Rochester.

As reported by the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the suspect, Michael Zabawa, shot three members of the Kruger family a total of eight times, killing two and injuring one, two years ago.

Tracy Kruger, 40, and Alec Kruger, 13, died. Hilary, now 43, and her youngest son, Zak, now 12, survived. As a result of the event, Hilary lost one of her arms and Zak, who was "staying with friends that night," was not hurt.

As written by the Star Tribune, "Zabawa, a hog farm worker with a petty criminal past, entered the Kruger house after driving his pickup truck into a nearby ditch" on Feb. 3 2007. During a "struggle" inside the Kruger home, Zabawa said he "accidentally shot Hilary because she was behind Tracy," and that he "accidentally shot Alec after he tossed the shotgun aside and it went off."

Hilary, however, said that the suspect shot her first while she was asleep. He then shot Tracy, her husband, after he woke up, and shot Alec, after he called 911.

According to the Star Tribune, the trial has been moved to Rochester because of the "intense publicity and emotion generated by the case." Hilary will testify against Zabawa during the trial, which will take around three weeks.

February 15, 2009

Analysis (Week of 2/9)

"Philadelphia officer shot, killed"

The reporter has summarized the important elements of the story in the lead. After the lead, the reporter goes into further detail about the events and those involved. These details are presented in chronological order, from the threat toward the cab driver to the death of the officer.

The reporter ordered the information in this way because it gives the reader the most important details of the story first, then goes in to more detail and ends with the least important parts of the story. It is effective because it gets the reader's attention and accurately informs him or her of all of the available and important details.

It could have been done differently, by not giving as much detail in the story of the confrontation between the cab driver and the suspect. However, I think that the way the reporter organized the story worked very well.

Singer Chris Brown, 'sorry and saddened'

Chris Brown, R&B singer-songwriter, said he was "sorry and saddened" by his arrest last week for alleged domestic violence.

According to Yahoo News, a statement by Brown said, "Words cannot begin to express how sorry and saddened I am over what transpired."

Brown said he is seeking counseling from his pastor, family and friends.

Brown, 19, turned himself in to police on February 8 after allegedly beating pop singer Rihanna, his girlfriend. Brown was released on bail, and both performers canceled their performances at the Grammy Awards that evening.

According to reports, Rihanna, 20, went back to her home in Barbados with her family. Her face, arms, and neck were covered in wounds and bruises.

"Rail crewman spots man's body on tracks"

A man's body was found on train tracks near Payne Avenue and Phalen Boulevard in St. Paul, after he was struck and killed by a train Saturday night.

The victim, has not been identified, according to St. Paul police spokesman Peter Panos.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that a Union Pacific train operator "called the train-dispatch center after spotting the man's body on tracks adjacent to the ones his train was on" around 10:30 p.m. Saturday. The dispatch center then called the police.

Police are trying to determine how the victim ended up on the tracks. While the death is not believed to be suspicious, the investigation is ongoing.

"Arden Hills nursing home found at fault in death of woman, 91, with neck fracture"

According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, three conclusions were made in the state's investigation of last year's death of Gladys Gall at Presbyterian Homes of Arden Hills:

"The woman's April 28 death was preceded by a fracture of her cervical spine."

"No such neck fracture can occur without a violent incident or fall."

"Somebody must know what happened - even if she fell on her own - because she couldn't have picked herself up from such an injury."

The Minnesota Department of Health released an investigative report this week, holding the nursing home accountable for maltreatment. The department told the Pioneer Press that Gall would had to have "suffered a severe blow or fall" while living in the home.

Presbyterian Homes has challenged the state's accusations. Without being able to identify any specific incidents of maltreatment, Traci Beach, administrator of the Arden Hills home, said that "it is unfair for the state to fault the home."

According to reports, Gall suffered from memory loss and advanced osteoporosis, "putting her at risk for falls," as stated by the Pioneer Press.

After Gall's admittance to the emergency room on April 18, 2008, doctors found a fracture in her neck. However, Gall wasn't able to remember how it might have been caused.

The Pioneer Press also revealed that a neurosurgeon who is being consulted in the state's investigation said "Gall couldn't have suffered the injury - known as a hangman's fracture because of its severity - without experiencing trauma."

Only theories have been offered so far by investigators and family.

"Philadelphia officer shot, killed"

A Philadelphia police officer was fatally shot in front of the Olney Transportation Center Friday night.

Officer John Pawlowski, 25, was "wounded after he and his partner responded to a report of a 'fight on the highway,'" police told Philly News.

The "fight" was a "confrontation" between two men, a cab driver and a "thug," as described by Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey.

According to Philly News, police reported that the gunman "approached the cabbie and demanded money" around 8 p.m. The cabbie told the man that he would call the police.

"If you call the cops, I'm shooting you and the cops," the suspect said.

The cabbie called the police, and identified the man for Pawlowski and his partner. The man fired a .357 Magnum handgun as the officers approached him, striking Pawlowski in the chest.

Pawlowski's partner fired back at the man, and took him in to custody. The suspect's name has not been released.

Officer Pawlowki was pronounced dead around 9 p.m. at Albert Einstein Medical Center.

Philly News reported that the suspect's name will not be released "until confirmed through fingerprints."

Pawlowski left behind his wife, Kim, who is expecting the couple's first child.

13-Year-Old Boy Fathers Child

Two children gave birth to a baby girl four days ago in the United Kingdom.

According to TimesOnline, Alfie Patten, 13, and girlfriend Chantelle Steadman, 15, conceived their daughter after the two had unprotected sex. It was Patten's first time having sexual intercourse.

"When my mum found out, I thought I was going to get in trouble. We wanted to have the baby but were worried about how people would react," Patten said.

Patten and Steadman, of Eastbourne, East Sussex, found out about the pregnancy after 12 weeks, and hid it from their parents for six more.

"[Alfie] said I should tell my mum but I was too scared," Steadman said.

Patten wanted to be the first to hold his child after birth. His father, said that Alfie "does not really understand the gravity of the situation - but seemed to want to be a good father," as written by TimesOnline.

Patten, who has not gone through puberty yet and is only 4ft tall, is a "typical 13-year-old boy."

The young couple is lucky to have supportive families, and are relying enormously on their parents for help.

"When you mention money his eyes look away. And she is reliant on her mum and dad. It's crazy. They have no idea what lies ahead," Patten's father said.

Steadman's mother said she was happy to be a grandmother, but wished it was in "different circumstances."

"She's my daughter. I love her and she will want for nothing."

The couple is looking forward to learning about parenthood, and raising their daughter Maise Roxanne.

"I'll be a great mum and Alfie will be a great dad," Steadman said.

February 8, 2009

Analysis (Week of 2/2)

Poison in teething drug kills 84 Nigerian children

Four sources are used in this story. The sources that are named include Health Minister Babtunde Osotimehin, Barewa Pharmaceutical Ltd, the Nigeria National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control and the government. The sources are scattered throughout the story, and include information from people and organizations. The way the reporter utilizes the attributions in a clear way, putting them at the beginning and at the end of sentences with direct quotes and paraphrasing.

"Swedes Investigate Police Racism"

Sweden's police chief "has promised" an investigation in to racist labels used in training exercises, according to

In Malmo, souther Sweden, 50 members of police training exercise exhibited "shocking and unacceptable" behavior, said police commissioner Bengt Svensson.

As reported by, complaints by some of the course participants did not amount to anything. Svensson said that an "independent person, or people," will be chosen to investigate this matter and help police to "work on values."

Three police officers, also from Skaane, were caught on tape using racist insults during a riot in December. Sweden's chief prosecutor "decided not to press charges" last week.

As stated by BBC. com, Swedish Justic Minister Beatrice Ask was "very concerned and upset" with these reports of police racism.

Mounds View Officials Change Happy Endings

Mounds View officials decided to consider changing the city's licensing program after alleged sexual activity closed a parlor last month.

According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Xiu Ju Li, owner of Jian Kang Massage, had her license revoked and was arrested on "suspicion of promoting prostitution," Mike Sommer, Mounds View Police Chief, said.

The investigation in to the massage parlor's late hours and potential prostitution ring encourage Mounds View's city code on massage operations to be magnified.

The Pioneer Press reports that "the owner of a massage parlor would have to continually be of 'good moral character' after the license has been issued," and the city would also "update the code to conform to Minnesota law.

By changing and strengthening the code, some of the "ambiguity" would be eliminated, said City Council member Roger Stigney. The City Council is planning to adopt these changes on Feb. 23.

Warming Device Too Hot to Handle

Investigators said Friday that hospitals should stop using warming devices similar to a machine that "severely burned a newborn," according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

"We urge hospitals to remove these models from service as soon as feasible," said Mark Bruley, the nonprofit ECRI Institute's vice president, accident and forensic investigation group.

Maverick Werth, the 12-hour-old baby burned at Mercy Hospital in January 2008 was scarred on his scalp and upper body and "wears a special glove to protect his right hand," said his father.

Mercy hired ECRI to investigate the incident. As reported by the Star Tribune, ECRI concluded that "hospital staff members were not at fault because the defects in the device 'are not visible to the naked eye' and did not result from improper maintenance."

While ECRE stated that incidents similar to Werth's are "unlikely," the group recommended "immediate action to remove and replace the affected models,"

Three Killed in Manhattan Shooting

Two men and a woman were fatally shot in a Manhattan apartment Saturday in a possible "murder-suicide."

As reported by The New York Times, police officers have not released the victims' identities or give further details on the shooting. Found in an eighth-floor apartment on the Upper West Side, one of the dead men had a handgun on his lap. The other man and the woman were "found on the floor."

Neighbors in the building heard gunshots on Friday evening, but did not call 911. On Saturday, the superintendent called the police. "The police said it was unclear what prompted" him to call, The New York Times reported.

Two blocks away from Central Park, residents of the apartment building said their community is "friendly and full of families and children."

"Poison in Teething Drug Kills 84 Nigerian Children"

According to, 84 Nigerian children died after "ingesting teething medicine that contained a solvent typically found in antifreeze, the country's health minister said Friday."

My Pikin has sickened approximately 111 infants and young, from 2 months old to 7 years, children since November.

"The death of any Nigerian child is a great loss to the nation," Osotimehin said.

Various tests on the "tainted batch" of the teething medicine have revealed a large amount of diethylene glycol, which is "used in some antifreeze and brake fluid." Ingesting the substance can harm the heart, kidney and nervous system, and even cause death, Health Minister Babtunde Osotimehin said.

Barewa Pharmaceutical Ltd officials have been "charged with negligence," and Nigeria National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control has shut the company down, as reported by

February 1, 2009

Nadal Wins 2009 Australian Open

Nadal beat Federer in a five set match to win the Australian Open Sunday.

As reported by The Huffington Post, the battle between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer lasted for four hours and 22 minutes. Nadal won the battle 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-2.

Federer, who had trouble containing his emotion at the awards ceremony, was "disappointed," "shocked" and "sad," with his loss.

"The problem is you can't go in the lcoker room and just take it easy and take a cold shower. You're stuck out there. It's the worst feeling. ... It's rough," he said.

As the first Spanish man to win the tournament, Nadal, 22, now has the chance to follow in Rod Laver's footsteps for 2009. By winning the next three major tournaments of the year, Nadal will earn a Grand Slam title.

Nursing Home Fire Kills Seven

At least seven people killed and eighteen missing after a nursing home fire Sunday in Russia.

CNN reported that Russian media said that "authorities were slow to report the fire, making it more difficult for firefighters to battle the blaze in a building engulfed in flames when they arrived."

According to Irina Valentinova, a spokeswoman with the Russian Ministry of Emergency Services, specific details are still being uncovered.

Because several fires have broken out recently in various state-run facilities in Russia, President Dmitry Medvedev "ordered the Russian prosecutor general's office to conduct an investigation of the fire," as written by CNN.

The cause of the nursing home fire is still unknown, and the number of deaths is feared to increase.

Analysis (Week of 1/26)

Phelps Acknowledges Photo Using Pipe

Olympic great Michael Phelps acknowledged ''regrettable'' behavior and ''bad judgment'' after a photo in a British newspaper Sunday showed him inhaling from a marijuana pipe.

The lead for this story includes:
who (Michael Phelps)
what (acknowledged "regrettable" behavior and "bad judgment")
where, when and why all refer to the photo and its appearance
where: in a British newspaper
when: Sunday
why: the photo "showed him inhaling from a marijuana pipe"

The description of the photo and Phelps' reaction is detailed, while the specifics about the actual contents being smoked from the pipe were not named.

The lead is a straightforward hard-news lead. The information especially catches your eye when Michael Phelps' famous name is recognized in the same sentence as "marijuana pipe."

Phelps: One Smokin' Swimmer

A photo of Michael Phelps, published Sunday in a British newspaper, shows the fourteen-time Olympic gold medalist smoking a marijuana pipe.

According to The New York Times, the image was photographed at a University of South Carolina house party in November, which Phelps was visiting during a break from training. News of the World, the paper that published the photo, did not make an allegation that Phelps was inhaling an illegal substance from the pipe. However, the pipe seen in Phelps' hands is typically used for smoking cannabis.

Phelps, who failed to deny the authenticity of the photo, apologized in a recently released statement.

"I engaged in behavior which was regrettable and demonstrated bad judgment. I'm 23 years old and despite the successes I've had in the pool, I acted in a youthful and inappropriate way, not in a manner people have come to expect from me. For this, I am sorry. I promise my fans and the public it will not happen again," Phelps said.

While Phelps' actions will not affect his most recent Olympic gold medal winnings, he will probably see a decline in his number of endorsements and sponsors.

David Howman, executive director of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), has stated that even if Phelps was smoking marijuana in the photo, the substance is "not banned out of competition. It's only if you test positive in competition."

As written by The New York Times, Howman said Phelps could be punished under code of conduct rules if "sufficient evidence to indicate possession or distribution" is found.

"Michael is a role model, and he is well aware of the responsibilities and accountability that come with setting a positive example for others, particularly young people. In this instance, regrettably, he failed to fulfill those responsibilities," the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) said.

The USOC stated that it has recognized Phelps' apology, and that its group members "are confident that, going forward, Michael will consistently set the type of example we all expect from a great Olympic champion."

From Smoke-Free Buildings to Smoke-Free Cars

Legislature viewed a bill Thursday that would prohibit smoking in cars containing children.

As reported by the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the bill, written by Rep. Nora Slawik, "would make it illegal to smoke in cars while driving with passengers younger than 18, treating it as a moving violation," and resulting in a $100 fine.

However, police would not be able to pull over drivers for solely violating the smoking ban, instead treating is as a secondary offense. The violation would only be ticketed if the driver were pulled over for a different reason.

Slawik, an avid supporter of the Freedom to Breathe Act (FTB), is looking forward to adding Minnesota to the growing list of states that have already passed the bill.

With the support from FTB activists and the bill's upcoming presentation to the Senate, Slawik hopes to soon achieve her goal of, as she told the Star Tribune, "a generation of healthier kids."

Recycle, Reduce, Reuse

A Mankato woman recently donated used soccer jerseys to needy children in Bangladesh.

According to, Mankato United's youth soccer fundraising coordinator, Kari Halbur, has found a solution for the growing pile of used youth soccer jerseys that collects in Mankato homes. Founded by Muhit Rahman, the Bangladesh Relief Fund collects used uniforms from around the country and ships them to various locations in Bangladesh.

Halbur found the program after searching online, and the jerseys were shipped across the ocean a few days later. The Mankato jerseys were scattered among the children of Bangladesh, from Panchagarh Government High School to the village where Rahman was born and raised.

The generous donations made by the families of Mankato are just a few of the nationwide sets of jerseys Rahman has received. Halbur hopes the donations from Mankato United's youth soccer teams to Rahman's "great program" will continue.

As reported, "With all the stuff going on in the world and with the sort of divisions that exist," Rahman said, "I just believe that, in the karma of the universe, something good happens when people share."