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April 26, 2009

"Chewing gum may raise math grades in teens"

As reported by Yahoo! News, "chewing gum may boost academic performance in teenagers," according to a study, funded by Wrigley, released Wednesday by U.S. researchers.

Craig Johnston and his group from Houston's Baylor College of Medicine found that "students who chewed gum during math class had higher scores on standardized math test after 14 weeks and better grades at the end of the term than student in the class who did not chew gum."

The research team studied 108 math students, ages 13 to 16 years. The students attended a charter school in Houston, Texas.

Approximately half of the students were given Wrigley's sugar-free gum to chew during class, tests and homework. The other half of students were given nothing.

Gil Leveille, executive director of the Wrigley Science Institute, said he thinks "chewing gum helps reduce stress so students can do their best work."

"Morning-after pill to be available to 17-year-olds over counter"

As reported by The Los Angeles Times, "The Food and Drug Administration announced Wednesday that it would allow 17-year-olds to buy the emergency contraceptive pill Plan B without a prescription."

The change in policy occurred after U.S. District Judge Edward R. Korman rejected a policy last month from the Bush administration that restricted people under the age of 18 from purchasing non-prescribed emergency contraceptive pills.

The FDA agreed to Korman's ruling. The LA Times wrote that, in a statement Wednesday, the FDA said that it would "support expanded marketing of Plan B to 17-year-olds upon receipt of a request from the drug's manufacturer. Males 17 and older could also buy the drug for their partners."

"No useful purpose would be served by continuing to deprive 17-year-olds access to Plan B without a prescription," Korman said. "The record shows that FDA officials and staff both agreed that 17-year-olds can use Plan B safely without a prescription."

Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights said she was glad for the policy change.

"We commend the FDA," Northup said. "It is a key step for the agency as it seeks to restore confidence in its ability to safeguard public health and leave politics at the lab door."

"Hamline University seeks info on anti-gay graffiti"

According to The St. Paul Pioneer Press, "Anti-gay graffiti was discovered Wednesday morning on the Hamline University campus in St. Paul, and officials are asking for help identifying who is responsible."

Hamline spokeswoman JacQui Getty said a majority of the graffiti was found on the Theta Chi fraternity house and the Admissions House. Other words and images were put on shrubbery and walls around the campus.

This vandalism occurred during Hamline's Rainbow Week, which "celebrates and raises awareness about the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community," The Pioneer Press reported.

"We are a very inclusive community," Getty said. "It was a shock."

This is Rainbow Week's third year, and nothing like this happened before, Getty said.

Hamline President Linda Hanson said Wednesday, everything possible is being done to find those responsible.

"As a community, we embrace multiculturalism and aspire to be exemplary as an inclusive learning community," Hanson said. "Such acts will not be tolerated at Hamline."

"Bombings kill nearly 90 in Iraq"

As reported by CNN, "Suicide bombers in Iraq launched two deadly attacks Thursday killing at least 55 people in Diyala province and at least 28 people in Baghdad, an Interior Ministry official said."

The bomber in Diyala detonated his explosive vest at a restaurant in Imam Wais, more than 40 miles northeast of Baghdad.

In addition to the 55 fatalities, the bombing injured 67 others. An Interior official said the attack targeted Iranian pilgrims. The pilgrims had stopped for lunch at the restaurant where the bomber attacked.

The bomber in Baghdad, who was female, "attacked a crowd of National Police," according to CNN. The bombing killed 28 people, both police and civilians, and wounded 52.

April 25, 2009

"Beekeeping legalized in Minneapolis"

According to The Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Minneapolis City Council unanimously agreed to lift a 34-year-old ban on apiaries within city limits Friday.

Council Member Diane Hofstede proposed the lift, which requires prospective beekeepers to have applications approved. The applications should be available around June 1.

Qualifications for application approval depend on the size of the beekeepers' lots. If lots are more than 4 acres, "keepers will need consent from all property owners within 150 feet of the hives and 80 percent of the owners within 250 feet of the hives," The Star Tribune reports.

On typical city lots, beekeepers will need to obtain "consenting signatures from all abutting property owners," and 80 percent of the owners within 100 feet of their property.

No more than two hives are allowed to be kept on a typical city lot. The lot would need to be surrounded by a fence and, as written by The Star Tribune, have "flyaways devised with barriers to get bees to altitude quickly when the hive is near a property line."

Beekeepers would also be required to get schooling and a city permit. Initially, the permit would cost $100, and would cost $50 annually.

Analysis (Week of 4/20)

For this week's analysis entry, I looked at an "5.5 SECONDS," an article from The Washington Post.

The author, a journalist for the Washington Post, uses extensive computer skills to organize facts about the case. A timeline with 360 degree views of different points in the incident is used with interactive links showing where the officer fled and where the suspect died. Below the pictorial timeline is a detailed written timeline accompanied by related audio from police radio dispatches and 911 calls.

The author also includes a link to an in-depth ICR from the police department involved in the case. Evidence is also provided on gun details, ShotSpotter sensors, police memos, autopsy findings, a police interview, and other key documents. A 3-dimensional map of the crime scene is included with details on specific locations, physical evidence, and various measurements of movement patterns. A video entitled "A Father's Grief" is also included. The video is an interview with the victim's father, including pictures of the boy.

The journalist obviously has a great set of computer skills. She was able to compile a great deal of evidence through public records, photographs and film footage. She also created numerous views of the crime scene through 360 degree photographs and a 3-dimensional diagram.

April 19, 2009

"Man Jailed for Peeing on Woman on Plane"

According to AOL News, a man was sentenced to three weeks in jail for urinating on a 66-year-old woman during a flight last month.

Jerome Kenneth Kingzio, 28, was charged with assault Tuesday after pleading guilty to urinating on the woman during the flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu.

Kingzio stood up and urinated on the woman during the flight. As reported by AOL News, "the victim was headed to Hawaii on March 21 for a scuba diving vacation and was watching an in-flight movie."

The woman is still suffering emotionally, U.S. Attorney Edward Kubo Jr. said.

"Couple and their 3 children found dead in Maryland home"

According to The Los Angeles Times, "A father, 34, killed his wife and their three young children before fatally shooting himself in a northwest Maryland home," on Saturday.

Christopher Alan Wood killed himself after fatally shooting his wife, Francis Bilotti Wood, 33, and their children.

Their sons were ages 5 and 4, and their daughter was 2-years-old. The boys were found in their beds, the girl was found in the master bedroom with Francis and Christopher's body was at the foot of his bed.

The bodies were discovered around 9 a.m. Saturday, by a relative who immediately notified police.

The children had "traumatic cuts" in addition to the gunshot wounds.

"Investigators also found a shotgun and other items they believed were used to cut the victims," the LA Times reported.

"I'm still sick to my stomach," neighbor Peggy Lawrence said. "Makes you realize you never know what's going on in people's lives."

"Vandal throws eggs at Norm Coleman's St. Paul home"

As reported by The St. Paul Pioneer Press, "a young man threw eggs at former U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman's house" Tuesday night.

Around 9:20 p.m. Tuesday, Coleman "heard thumping" on the door of his home. When he looked outside, a young man was saying various obscenities, and threw another egg at Coleman.

"I kind of ducked," Coleman said. "I ran after him but I didn't get him."

Coleman described the young man in his late teens or early 20s, and he was riding a bicycle.

The suspect said, "I (expletive) can't stand what you represent," Coleman said.

The suspect was not caught, police spokesman Peter Panos said. If found, he will be charged with a misdemeanor criminal damage to property.

"Car fleeing police crashes on I-94"

According to The Minneapolis Star Tribune, "A car fleeing Minneapolis police on Friday afternoon drove onto eastbound Interstate 94 going the wrong way and crashed head-on into two cars."

After a police officer saw an Audi speed through an intersection at about 60 miles per hour, he turned his lights and siren on and pursued the vehicle.

As the Star Tribune reported, "the car turned north onto Lyndale Avenue going the wrong way on the one-way street."

The officer was ordered to cease the pursuit, said Minneapolis police spokesman Sgt. Jesse Garcia. He then watched as the driver headed down an I-94 exit ramp into oncoming traffic.

The car, going the wrong way, eventually hit two vehicles. There were no serious injuries.

According to Garcia, the driver told police he was racing another vehicle.

"At least 20 killed in Pakistan suicide bombing"

A suicide bomber killed at least 20 people and wounded 15 others in Pakistan on Saturday.

Fatalities included soldiers, civilians and police, and more than 11 military vehicles were damaged.

The bomber "rammed his vehicle into a security forces convoy," CNN reported.

The incident occurred in the village of Doaba in Islamabad. According to Farid Khan, deputy police superintendent in the Hangu District of North West Frontier Province, the attack was near a security checkpoint.

April 12, 2009

Man charged with trying to start fire at Mall of America

"A 24-year-old Minneapolis man is accused of three felonies from two incidents in which he allegedly made terroristic threats and tried to start a fire at the Mall of America," according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Andrew Nietz was taken to the Hennepin County Jail Thursday, with one charge of arson and two of terroristic threats.

Nietz told police officers he had an "incendiary device" at the mall April 1. That day, "a backpack loaded with an aerosol can had exploded and caught fire in the third-floor transit area," the Star Tribune reported.

According to the complaint, Nietz told officers "he was a terrorist, that he had rocket-propelled grenades and that he knew all about guns."

On Tuesday, was accused of attempting to light transit brochures on fire. He told security officers that he was a terrorist and that he had explosives.

The suspect confessed to the both incidents and threats he made towards police and security officers in a police interview.

"St. Paul Planned Parenthood clinic sees record protests - on both sides"

As reported by the St. Paul Pioneer Press, more than 2,000 people protested outside St. Paul's Planned Parenthood clinic Friday, "making it the largest group in more than 25 years of Good Friday protests."

Brian Gibson, Pro-Life Action Ministries executive director, said the large attendance came from "the pro-abortion atmosphere coming out of the White House and Congress, and people wanting to show there are still pro-life people out there."

A counter-protest group also set a new assembly record, in a food drive outside the Planned Parenthood clinic in Highland Park.

Sarah Stoesz, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota, said the "pledge-a-protester" event raised more than $14,000 for the Hallie Q. Brown Food Shelf.

"Fifth body part 'from same man'"

According to BBC News, a man's torso was found Saturday in a ditch in England, belonging to the same victim whose other body parts were found across the country.

The torso was found inside a suitcase near the main A10 road.

A police spokeswoman confirmed that the torso, found in Ware, Hertfordshire, is connected to "an ongoing joint murder investigation taking place between detectives in the Bedordshire and Hertfordshire major crime unit and detectives in Leicestershire."

The unidentified victim's legs, forearm and head were each previously found in different locations.

April 11, 2009

"Court fines mother for phoning son too much"

As published on Yahoo News, a 73-year-old Austrian woman was fined by a court for stalking her son with numerous phone calls.

The unidentified woman, from Klagenfurt, called her son up to 49 times per day over two-and-a-half years. She was fined 360 euros by the city's court.

According to Kleine Zeitung, an Austrian newspaper, the woman said she "just wanted to talk to him."

"I've never seen my grandchild -- who is already 15-years-old."

"Mom, infant killed by Tennessee tornado"

According to CNN, "A mother and her infant were killed by a tornado that hit Murfreesboro, Tennessee, on Friday."

Kori and her husband, John Bryant, strapped Olivia in to her car seat, "thinking it would be safer for her." The three were in the hallways of their home when the tornado hit.

Olivia was found in her car seat. Mark McClure, a family member, said that "attempts were made to resuscitate" her, but she couldn't be saved.

John was taken to Vanderbuilt University Hospital after he was found a few houses away. After his blood pressure stabilizes, he will have surgery to help his broken back and ribs, and one collapsed lung.

The tornado injured around 36 people and either damaged or destroyed roughly 250 homes.

Donnie Smith, a public information officer with the Tennessee Department of Emergency Management in Nashville, said search-and-rescue operations continued throughout Friday evening.

Analysis (Week of 4/6)

"North Korea, not surprisingly, keeps Kim as its 'Dear Leader'"

The article mentioned above, published by The Los Angeles Times, covers the "choreographed joy" that was captured after Kim Jong Il was reappointed at the ruler of North Korea. Moving beyond the stereotype of North Korea's strict government, the article goes on to give support to this claim with quotes from North Korean people and groups and references to North Korean government and culture. Before reading the article, I had no idea that Kim had been reappointed. The information regarding the practices of the North Korean government, however, I did know about. The content regarding Kim Jong Il's reappointment, and the apparent joy of the North Korean population, was given through quotes and observations.

April 5, 2009

"Urinating dog triggered argument resulting in 3 officers' deaths"

According to CNN, three police officers were fatally shot Saturday in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, while responding to a 911 call of a domestic argument "triggered by a urinating dog."

Police arrested Richard Poplawski, 22, after the four-hour standoff. Authorities said Poplawski would be charged with three counts of homicide, aggravated assault and other charges.

Around 7 a.m. Saturday, Margaret Poplawski, Richard's mother, called police to report her son for "giving her a hard time."

After Margaret discovered that "the dog had urinated on the floor," she and Richard had an argument.

Officers Stephen Mayle and Paul Sciullo III responded to the call, and Margaret let them in her home.

Margaret heard gunshots shortly after the officers came inside. Her son, wearing a bullet-proof vest, had shot them from about six feet away with an AK-47. She then fled to her basement, where she stayed for the rest of the standoff.

Police Chief Nathan Harper said "Sciullo was the first to approach the home, and was shot in the head as he entered the doorway. When Mayle tried to help his fellow officer, he was also shot in the head." Officer Eric Kelly then arrived at the scene, and was "shot before he could aid the two officers."

According to Margaret, Richard had enlisted in the Marine Corps a few years ago. He was discharged during basic training after assaulting his drill sergeant. She said that, since his discharge, he had been "stockpiling guns and ammunition, buying and selling the weapons online, because he believed that as a result of the economic collapse, the police were no longer able to protect society."

"We have never had to lose three officers in the line of duty on one call," Harper, the police chief, said. "They have paid the ultimate sacrifice."

The three fatalities were the first for the department since 1995.

"St. Paul couple shot, injured in home invasion; police search for suspect, whom victims recognized"

A St. Paul couple was shot in their home Thursday afternoon in a "botched home-invasion robbery."

Peter Panos, police spokesman said the man and his wife were each shot once, and their children, who were home during the incident, were not injured. The children ages range from 2 to 15 years.

The couple was taken to Regions Hospital in St. Paul for surgery.

According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the suspect knocked on the door of the couple's house and "forced his way." At 12:07 p.m., a "frantic" woman called police and reported the break-in and shooting.

Police began searching for the suspect Thursday.

Analysis (Week of 3/30)

CNNMoney.com published an article about CEO's paychecks.

In the article, "Last year's top CEO paycheck: $104 million, numbers are used to describe the following:

Percentages (both increases and decreases)
Average compensation for CEO's (in dollars)
Median compensation of CEOs of financial services
The number of chief executives who were affected
The years in which various events occurred/changes happened

The reporter used numbers to accurately describe the changes in salary of numerous executives of large public American companies - dropping for the first time in five years. The numbers are not overwhelming, and are mostly dollar amounts. The reporter obtained information for the article from a survey published last week by the New York Times and research firm Equilar. Sources also included Charles M. Elson, director of the John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware, and Equilar research manager Alexander Cwirko-Godycki. The reporter listed each of the sources completely, and did not have to use math at all. The numbers and percentages that were used came directly from the attributed sources.

"Bus driver accused of DWI is fired"

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, a Metro Transit bus driver was fired after he was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving his bus last month.

Alonzo V. Martin, 46, received two misdemeanors after his bus "swerved all over the road" between Minneapolis and Brooklyn Center on March 21. After witnesses called the police, Martin was pulled over and took a Breathalyzer test. Police said Martin had a blood-alcohol content of 0.24, and tried to hid a can of beer.

The incident was the first in Metro Transit's history.

Bob Gibbons, spokesman for Metro Transit, said Martin was "discharged March 23 for 'gross misconduct.'"

Martin's misconduct was in three areas, and involved falsification of an employment application, falsification of statements to a manager's inquiry and a violation of the Metropolitan Council's drug and alcohol policy. The falsified information on Martin's application was not released.

2010 Golden Globes To Broadcast Live Nationwide

According to Access Hollywood, the Golden Globe Awards will broadcast live for the first time next year.

The 67th annual awards ceremony will be live on both coasts instead of the typical tape-delay. The goal of this is to "combat the speed of internet news," which can display winners before the delayed broadcast.

Jorge Camara, President of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced the news and the reasons behind it April 2.

As reported by goldenglobes.org, "In this age when news is disseminated with increasing rapidity, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is delighted to announce that this year's Golden Glove Awards telecast will be air live nationwide," said Camara.

The 67th Golden Globe Awards will air live on NBC on January 17, 2010. Check local listings for times.

"Five Suicide Bombers Attack Afghan Provincial Council"

According to the New York Times, five suicide bombers bombed an Afghani government office Wednesday morning, killing 13 people and wounding 14 others.

The provincial council office in Kandahar was attacked when one bomber detonated a car bomb and others invaded the building with rifle and hand grenades.

“A number of officials were present in the main hall for the final day of a seminar being conducted by the National Democratic Institute,” the New York Times wrote.

Fatalities included two provincial health and education officials, police and council workers.

Witnesses, including provincial council member Haji Agha Lali, said the bombers were dressed in Afghan National Army uniforms.

“We heard a loud explosion,” he said. The men then entered the building and “started shooting everywhere.”

The Taliban was responsible for the attack, as reported by one of its spokesmen. This was their second attack on the city this year.

The previous incident occurred at the city’s main prison. A truck bomb was detonated and attackers stormed the prison. Hundreds of prisoners were freed and 15 guards were killed.

Ahmed Wali Karzai, the leader of the provincial council and brother of President Hamid Karzai, said the bombers were trying to kill the provincial council members. The council members were targeted because they were “working to help the people and provide a bridge between the government and the disenchanted population,” the New York Times reported.

“For them the member are an obstacle and that’s why they are targeting them with such a big plan,” he said.