This news blog is an educational exercise involving students at the University of Minnesota. It is not intended to be a source of news.

In the New York Times' article, "Seeking Gun or Selling One, Web Is a Land of Few Rules," the reporter uses lots of data analysis and interactive features that enhance the story and capture the attention of the reader.

This article is about various prospective buyers on, which is a website for free classified ads for guns. The reporter had to navigate this website and find the ads posted on the website, as well as track down buyers who showed interest in the ads.

In the article, the reporter explained the ads and posted pop-up links to the specific ads. The reporter also added pictures of the prospective buyers, of which some are convicted felons. This means that the reporter also had to find their pictures and what they were convicted with.

Even though the story is very long, it had lots of graphics and interactive tools that captured the attention of the reader throughout the article. On each page of the article there were numerous links to click on, pictures of those seeking the ads, and visuals of the ads themselves.

Bangladesh building collapse leaves scores dead

| No Comments

An eight-story building housing several factories making clothing for European and American consumers collapsed near Bangladesh on Wednesday.

By Thursday, Bangladeshi news media reported that at least 120 bodies had been recovered from Rana Plaza, The New York Times reported. Officials say 134 people died, and more than 1,000 of the 2,500 workers are injured, many of them still trapped beneath the rubble, The New York Times said.

Firefighters and army personnel worked through the morning to rescue those trapped inside after the building had collapsed in Savar, 19 miles outside of Dhaka, NBC News said.

The building collapsed only five months after a fire at a similar facility caused leading multinational brands to pledge to work to improve safety in the country's booming by poorly regulated garment industry, The New York Times said.

Survivors described the collapse as feeling like an earthquake: hearing a loud and terrifying cracking sound; feeling the concrete factory floor roll beneath their feet; and watching concrete beams and pillars collapse and the building suddenly seemed to implode, The New York Times said.

Brig. Gen. Ali Ahmed Khan, head of the National Fire Service, said that a previous investigation found that the Rana Plaza building violated codes, with four upper floors having been constructed illegally without permits, The New York Times reported.

After the investigation, shops and a bank branch on the lower floors closed, The New York Times reported. But despite safety risks, the owners of the upper floors ordered employees to continue to work Wednesday, The New York Times said.

A 27-year-old Minneapolis man has been charged with second-degree murder in the shooting of a Shakopee High School student, authorities said.

Steven A. Moore was charged Tuesday with four criminal counts including murder, aggravated robbery and two counts of aggravated assault with a dangerous weapon in the killing of Marcos A. Pantaleon, who was shot once in the chest and died in his family's apartment less than 90 minutes before his 20th birthday, Star Tribune said.

Officers were called to the apartment on the 600 block of Gorman Street last Thursday on reports of a shooting involving multiple victims, Kare 11 said. They found two men suffering from gunshot wounds and the 19-year-old Pantaleon dead, Kare 11 reported.

Investigators questioned one of the wounded victims, who identified the gunman as Moore, a man who used to live in the apartment building and someone he used to sell marijuana to, Kare 11 said. That victim also told detectives that Moore and two other black males knocked on the door and then stormed the apartment when the door was open demanding for money before the shooting, Kare 11 reported.

Moore was arrested Friday by Shakopee investigators outside his home less than nine hours after the shooting, Star Tribune said. He remains held in the Scott County jail with $1 million bail.

Syrian government forces have used chemical weapons in the country's civil war causing people to foam at the mouth, Israeli military top analyst said on Tuesday.

If this claim is confirmed, it would mean Syria's President Bashar Assad crossed what the State Department has described as a red line that would trigger some form of U.S. response, NBC News said. President Obama warned Assad that using chemical weapons would be a "tragic mistake" that would have "consequences," NBC News reported.

Brigadier-General Itai Brun told the Institute of National Security in Tel Aviv that photographs of the victims foaming at the mouth and with contracted pupils were signs that a deadly gas had been used, NBC News said.

"According to our professional assessment, the regime has used deadly chemical weapons against armed rebels on a number of occasions in the past few months," Brun said, NBC News reported.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged NATO to prepare for the possible use of chemical weapons by Syria and said contingency plans should be put into place to guard against Syria's threat of a chemical weapons strike, CBS News said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, sarin, a nerve agent, and the suspected chemical used by Syria, causes symptoms including loss of consciousness, convulsions, paralysis, and respiratory failure that can be fatal, NBC News reported.

Five victims identified in Colorado avalanche

| No Comments

Five snowboarders who died in a Colorado avalanche this weekend were all in their 30s and from Colorado, authorities said.

Killed in the avalanche were Christopher Peters, 32, from Lakewood; Joseph Timlin, 32, from Gypsum; Ryan Novack, 33, from Boulder; Ian Lanphere, 36, from Crested Butte; and Rick Gaukel, 33, from Estes Park, CNN reported.

The five deceased snowboarders were trapped under about 8 feet of snow in what is being called Colorado's deadliest avalanche since 1962, ABC News said. They were found dead Saturday after being buried in the snow on a high mountain pass in Colorado's White River National Forest, CNN said.

A sixth member of the snowboarder group was a lone survivor who dug himself out of the snow and flagged down workers with the Colorado Department of Transportation, ABC News said.

The avalanche happened at Loveland Pass, about 50 miles west of Denver at an elevation of 11,990 feet just east of the popular ski resorts of Breckenridge and Vail, CNN said.

The group set off in the morning and the avalanche triggered around 1 p.m., CNN said. All of the snowboarders were wearing avalanche beacons and proper equipment, CNN reported.

A Twin Cities radio talk-show host said he would like to tell the families of Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims to "go to hell" for having a visible role in the current national debate on gun control.

Bob Davis, was discussing those affected by the Newtown, Conn., shooting during an April 12 segment of his show, "Davis & Emmer," on Twin Cities News Talk AM 1130, Huffington Postsaid. The topic of the show focused on how family members of the 26 victims, 20 of whom were between the ages of 6 and 7 years old, have become advocated for gun control, Huffington Post reported.

"I have something I want to say to the victims of Newtown or any other shooting, I don't care if it's here in Minneapolis or anyplace else. Just because a bad thing happened to you doesn't mean that you get to put a king in charge of my life. I'm sorry that you suffered a tragedy, but you know what? Deal with it, and don't force me to lose my liberty, which is a greater tragedy than your loss. I'm sick and tired of seeing these victims trotted out, given rides on Air Force One, hauled into the Senate well, and everyone is ... terrified of these victims. I would stand in front of them and tell them, 'Go to hell.'‚ÄČ"

Three days later, Davis acknowledged that his comments angered some people and said he understands that families of the victims would want to "dedicate their lives to the memory of their children," Star Tribune said.

According to Star Tribune, another four days later Davis said he "did not mean to criticize the families of the victims. ... I want to offer my most sincere and total apology to all the families for any further pain those words may have caused."

Davis has lost some advertising due to the incident, Star Tribune said. No other repercussions have been made.

Explosion hits Texas fertilizer plant

| No Comments

A massive explosion at a fertilizer plant in a small town near Waco, Texas on Wednesday night left as many as 15 people dead, injured more than 160 and caused a widescale evacuation in the community of 2,600 people.

The explosion happened at the West Fertilizer Plant, about 18 miles north of Waco, CNN said. Residents were evacuated because officials are worried that another tank at the facility might explode, CNN reported.

"What we are hearing is that there is one fertilizer tank that is still intact at the plant, and there are evacuations in place to make sure everyone gets away from the area safely in case of another explosion," said Ben Stratmann, a spokesman for Texas State Sen. Brian Birdwell, CNN reported.

Those still missing include three to five firefighters who were battling the blaze when it blew up just before 8 p.m., shaking the ground with the force of a magnitude-2.1 earthquake an releasing large amounts of smoke over the farming town of West, NBC News said.

"It was a huge explosion," said Waco police Sgt. William Patrick Swanton. "It reached blocks, if not miles, in its devastating effect. ... My guess is going to be that ... we will see the casualty rate rise and the injury rate rise."

There seems to be no indication of criminal activity, although the area was treated as a crime scene as a precaution, NBC News said.

The Minnesota State Patrol will be going to some unusual lengths Thursday to ticket distracted drivers using their cellphones, authorities said.

Minneapolis police and officers from more than 400 agencies statewide will be on the lookout for distracted driving as a one-day campaign, which coincides with national Distracted Driving Awareness Month, Star Tribune said.

Troopers in the metro area will be riding on school buses and in semitrailer trucks to spot drivers whose shoulders are hunched and whose fingers appear to be scrolling or typing, two signs of using a phone illegally while driving, Star Tribune reported. Once troopers see anyone texting, or driving while distracted, they will radio a patrol car to stop them, CBS Minnesota said.

According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, patrols handed out 1,728 citations to drivers for texting last year, Star Tribune reported. But in order to hand out more citations, the officers must be able to see a motorist engaged in such activity. That's why patrols will be on buses and trucks so they can get a better look from a raised vantage point, Star Tribune reported.

Minnesota law says it is illegal to text, surf the internet, or email while behind the wheel, even if you're stopped in traffic or at a red light. It is also illegal for any drivers under 18 to use cell phones at all while driving.

Remains of a stillborn baby from Regions Hospital were mistakenly sent to a commercial laundry on Tuesday, and the hospital says it is something that has never happened there before.

The remains of the baby, stillborn at 22 weeks, were in the hospital's morgue when the body was mistakenly sent to a Red Wing laundry, Pioneer Press reported. Police officers were called to Crothall Laundry Services around 12:30 p.m., USA Today said. The infant's body was found with a tag on its ankle and wearing a diaper after tumbling out of a bed sheet being prepared for cleaning, USA Today said.

Regions officials said they collected the remains immediately after they received a call from the commercial laundry, Pioneer Press said.

The hospital delivers 2,500 babies each year and about two stillborns each month, Pioneer Press said. According to Chris Boese, chief nursing officer at Regions Hospital, this is the first time infant remains have been lost, Pioneer Press reported.

The hospital is working to notify the infant's family, but the message has not yet been delivered, Pioneer Press said.

"This was a terrible mistake, and we are deeply sorry," Boese said, USA Today reported. "We have processes in place that should have prevented this but did not. We are working to identify the gap in our system and to make sure this does not happen again."

Terrors of Boston Marathon continue to resolve

| No Comments

Monday's terror attack on the Boston Marathon left two people dead and over 180 wounded while investigators continue to uncover the mysteries of the explosions.

The explosions killed an 8-year-old boy and a 29-year-old woman who was a Boston University graduate student from China, CNN said. More than 180 others were wounded, many losing limbs as a result of the twin blasts near the race's finish line, CNN said.

Investigators say the two bombs were hidden in black nylon backpacks to look like discarded property, CBS News said. It is still unknown whether both bombs were placed in garbage cans or if one may have been on the sidewalk, CBS News said.

Both explosive devices appear to have been placed in metal pressure cookers and packed with nails and ball bearings, which were designed to amplify the damage of the attack, CBS News said.

During a news conference Tuesday afternoon in Boston, FBI Special Agent in Charge, Richard Deslauriers, indicated that the range of suspect and motive is "wide open," and that the investigation is still in its "infancy."

Law enforcement sources said that a Saudi Arabian man who was previously questioned by investigators is not being considered as a suspect at this time and appears to have been a spectator who was injured in the attack, CBS News reported.

President Barack Obama said that the bombings were an act of terrorism, and that investigators do not know if an international organization, a domestic group or a "malevolent individual" carried them out.