November 2012 Archives

Mexican drug queen killed in shootout

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A Mexican beauty queen was killed during a weekend shootout in northern Mexico where it's known for drug-fueled violence, authorities said Monday, new sources report.

Maria Susana Flores Gamez, 20, was the 2012 Woman of Sinaloa. She was killed Saturday in a gun battle between soldiers and the gang of drug traffickers she was traveling with, CNN reports.

Flores Gamez was "traveling in one of the vehicles that engaged the soldiers in an hours-long chase and shootout on Saturday," Prosecutor Marco Antonio Higuera said, FOX news reports.

This isn't the first time in Mexico a beauty queen was involved in a criminal act. In 2008, Laura Zuniga, who was then the reigning Our Sinaloa Beauty, was detained on suspicion of drug and weapons violations along with seven other men. She was later released, CNN reports.

Powerball jackpot rose to $550 million Wednesday, tempting many people to purchase a ticket for the second-largest payout in U.S. history, news sources report.

The chance of winning a Powerball jackpot is 1 in 175,223,510 and yet tickets were selling at a rate of 130,000 a minute nationwide and continue to grow. The increase in tickets sales means the jackpot could climb even higher before the Wednesday night drawing, said Chuck Strutt, executive director of the Multi-State Lottery Association, CNN reports.

The jackpot hasn't had a winner the last 16 consecutive times but Powerball officials say they believe there is a 75 percent chance the winning combination will be drawn this in this round, FOX news reports.

According to some experts, if one ticket hits the right numbers then chances are good that multiple ones will be, FOX News reports.

Two U.S. senators are insisting the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) restrict caffeine levels in certain energy drinks after thirteen deaths were linked to energy drink consumption, news sources report.

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin and Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal urge the FDA to classify energy drinks under the same category as soft drinks. "The FDA limits caffeine levels in soft drinks to about 70 milligrams per 12-ounce soda," FOX News reports.

"There's increasing evidence of the very urgent and dangerous threat posed by these drinks because of their high levels of caffeine, which are often undisclosed, and the effects of combining that caffeine with other ingredients," Blumenthal said, FOX News reports.

While anyone can report a relationship to the deaths and the amount of energy drinks consumed, no cause-and-effect relationship has been proven. As required by law, the FDA is investigating the connection, CNN reports.

"If we find a relationship between consumption of the product and harm, FDA will take appropriate action to reduce or eliminate the risk," the FDA said. "While the FDA investigates all reports to the best of its ability, it does not always have access to all the information needed to conclusively determine the cause of the event," CNN reports.

The drinks include NOS, Full Throttle, Red Bull, Amp and 5-hour Energy drink. The senators aren't the only one calling attention to these drinks. A New York attorney general and the city attorney of San Francisco are asking the drink companies to provide more information when they're marketing their products to the public, FOX News reports.

There have also been a total of 92 patient reports connected to energy drinks consumption, including 33 hospitalizations reported as "5-Hour ENERGY adverse events", according to the FDA. (FOX News)

Hostess files for bankruptcy, competitors seek to purchase

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Hostess Brands, the maker of the iconic Twinkies, announced Friday it is going out of business, creating an opportunity for competitors to purchase the brand.

The news comes after Hostess bakers went on strike protesting a new contract that was being forced on them. Nearly 18,500 workers will lose their jobs in the company, shutting down 33 bakeries and 565 distribution centers nationwide, CNN reports.

"We deeply regret the necessity of today's decision, but we do not have the financial resources to weather an extended nationwide strike," said CEO Gregory Rayburn in a statement, CNN reports.

Hostess will sell its assets to the highest bidder. Mexico's Grupo Bimbo, the world's largest bread-baking firm, is interested in obtaining some of the Texas-based Hostess' products, according to Forbes. Grupo Bimbo "owns parts of Sara Lee, Entenmann's and Thomas English Muffins", FOX News reports.

Others firms considered prospects include Pepperidge Farm, a division of Campbell Soup Co.; ConAgra and Flowers Food, the American company behind Nature Valley granola; and McKee Foods, baker of Little Debbie snack cakes, the Christian Science Monitor reports. (FOX News reports)

Approval of the bankruptcy court is still needed before Hostess will start selling its assets. Meanwhile, production of all of its bakeries stopped Friday, and stores will no longer receive products from Hostess Brands after the final round of deliveries were made Thursday night, CNN reports.

Mall of America is tightening security on Black Friday by not allowing unaccompanied teenagers at the mall on the biggest shopping days of the year, news sources report.

Children younger than 16 and who are not with an adult 21 or older will not be welcome at the Mall of America on Thanksgiving night or Black Friday, and also during the week between Christmas and New Year's, Star Tribune reports.

After last years chair-throwing teenage tussle in the food court that happened days after Christmas, the mall is taking steps to prevent any recurrence of such an event, Pioneer Press reports.

"We realized after last year that we had a large number of youths who were coming," she said. "Just for everyone's safety, it makes sense to us to put the policy in place," Star Tribune reports.

"Unaccompanied teens must provide proof of their age with government-issued identification; school IDs will not cut it," Star Tribune reports.

Egyptian intelligence chief working to forge cease-fire

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Egypt's intelligence chief is in the talks with Hamas and Israel to end the five days of fire, news sources report.

Mohammed Shehata, a general with Egyptian intelligence, told CNN the Israeli military is reluctant to cease-fire without indications that a truce would hold.
Negotiations are still ongoing with no clear conclusion yet, CNN reported.

Thousands of Israeli troops are swarming near the Gaza border, "awaiting orders to invade should Israeli leaders decide to widen the operation," FOX news reports.

Rockets soared from Gaza toward Israel Saturday. One missile was blocked by a missile defense system as it was on the way to Tel Aviv, CNN reports.

Sunday comes a lull in the fire after Israel expanded its airstrike campaign on rockets in the Gaza Strip that stroke a Hamas government compound and a Cabinet building on Friday, FOX news reported.

Egyptian intelligence chief working to forge cease-fire

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Egypt's intelligence chief is in the talks with Hamas and Israel to end the five days of fire, news sources report.

Mohammed Shehata, a general with Egyptian intelligence, told CNN the Israeli military is reluctant to cease-fire without indications that a truce would hold.
Negotiations are still ongoing with no clear conclusion yet, CNN reported.

Thousands of Israeli troops are swarming near the Gaza border, "awaiting orders to invade should Israeli leaders decide to widen the operation," FOX news reports.

Rockets soared from Gaza toward Israel Saturday. One missile was blocked by a missile defense system as it was on the way to Tel Aviv, CNN reports.

Sunday comes a lull in the fire after Israel expanded its airstrike campaign on rockets in the Gaza Strip that stroke a Hamas government compound and a Cabinet building on Friday, FOX news reported.

The Red Bull Crashed Ice race in St. Paul will return this January, featuring a longer and higher ice track than last winter's course, news sources report.

The event is expected to draw tens of thousand of spectators and athletes from around the world to downtown on Jan. 24-26. The track will start near the Cathedral of St. Paul, crossing Dayton and Summit Avenues and winds its way down the hill, Star Tribune reported.

Last year, the event drew in a large amount of spending from the spectators. City officials estimated the event drew in 100,000 people, with athletes and visitors spending $20 million in St. Paul over the course of the weekend, Pioneer Press reported.

The start of the course will be higher and run for more than 1,300 feet. Team USA Coach Charlie Wasley said this allows for skaters to have a bit more room to recover from the course's many obstacles, Star Tribune reported.

The return of the 1201 Crashed event was supported by Mayor Coleman. At a news conference Wednesday, Nov. 14, on the Xcel Energy Center's center ice, Mayor Chris Coleman said the event "was too good not to do again," Pioneer press reported.

Red Bull started sponsoring the sport in 2001 and held races in Duluth in 2003 and 2004, news sources report. "The St. Paul race in the only Red Bull Crashed Ice event in the United States; others will be held in Canada, Switzerland and the Netherlands, with the finals in Quebec," Star Tribune reports.

2 killed, over 80 homes affected in Indianapolis explosion

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Two people were killed in an explosion that destroyed two homes and set several others on fire in an Indianapolis neighborhood late Saturday night, news sources report.

The flames forced hundreds of residents to flee their homes and took firefighters over two hours to contain the fire of nearly three dozen homes, FOX news reports.

Two adults were killed and seven others went local hospitals due to the explosion and related fires, said Deputy Chief Kenny Bacon of the Indianapolis Fire Department, CNN reports.

The cause of the explosion remains unknown, and investigation is still underway, Lieut. Bonnie Hensley with the Indianapolis Fire Department Hensley said Saturday.

Groupon stock plummets, analysis

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When it comes to telling a story about the stock market, numbers are one of the most important factors in the story.
The writer uses numbers to tell the news of Groupon sales slowing, which significantly decreases their stock. She balances the numbers well throughout the story, making it understandable for a person who may not completely comprehend how the stock market works.
The source of the numbers comes directly from the stock exchange. She uses percentages to describe the decrease in stock for the company, and this is an effective way to describe how the decrease compares overall in the company. She also uses the numbers to describe how the company's stock market has been slowing down over the whole year, alluding to their continued struggles in the company.
Overall, the writer does a good job of making the numbers easy to follow and making comparisons that give the reader an overall big picture of Groupon's decreasing stocks.
The article can be found here.

U.S drone came under fire by Iran

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Iran's defense minister said Friday that a U.S. drone violated flying over the Iranian coastline violated Iranian airspace a week ago and had reason to try to bring down the drone. The U.S. maintains the drone was over international waters, news sources report.

The Pentagon said the shooting in the Gulf occurred over a wee ago on Nov. 1, when an Iranian military plane fired, at least twice but did not hit, an unarmed U.S. drone, FOX news reports.

The United States says Iranian jets fired while the drone was on a routine surveillance mission above international waters "16 miles from the Iranian coast." The internationally recognized territorial limit is 12 miles off the coast, CNN reports

"Last week, an unknown aircraft entered Iran's airspace in the Persian Gulf," Iran's defense minister Gen. Ahmad Vahidi said. "It was forced to leave on time by a wise and strong reaction on the part of the Iranian armed forces," FOX news reports.

Masoud Jazayeri, a senior general in the powerful Revolutionary Guard said on Friday "the Iranian armed forces will respond decisively to any act of transgression. ... If any foreign planes try to enter our country's [air]space, our armed forces will confront it," CNN reports.

While Iranian lawmaker Mohammad Saleh Jokar said. "This showed Iran has the necessary readiness to defend against any invasion," FOX news reports.

A St. Louis man is in jail after posting a picture on Facebook of a graphic tattoo aimed at a Minneapolis police officer, news sources report.

Antonio "Savage" Jenkins Jr., 20, was charged after a tattoo depicting a person holding a pistol to the mouth of a pig dressed in a Minneapolis police uniform with the badge of Officer Jeffrey Seidel appeared on Facebook, Pioneer Press reports.

The Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said that Frasion's tattoo on his arm and on Facebook is a specific terroristic threat against the officer, Star Tribune reports.

Jenkins is a reputed member of the Bloods street gang and currently on probation for armed robbery. On Thursday, he was charged with making a terroristic threat for the benefit of a gang, Pioneer press reports

The arrest follows a report made a week ago for Minneapolis and St. Paul police to be on heightened alert after learning that Gangster Disciples street gang members were threatening to kill an officer, Pioneer Press reports.

Chuck Samuelson, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota, says "while the images are disgusting and disturbing, they're not criminal," Star Tribune reports.

""The fact that they arrested him and threw him in jail and then charged him," Samuelson said, "could be interpreted as harassment by the police and the county attorney," Star Tribune reports.

As to if it's protected speech or a terroristic threat is still under debate, news sources reports.

Jared Loughner, the Arizona man who pleaded guilty for the January shooting rampage and attempted assignation of former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, has been sentenced to life in prison, news sources report.

U.S. District Judge Larry Burns sentenced 24-year-old Loughner on Thursday to seven consecutive life terms in prison, plus 140 years, without the possibility of parole, CNN reports.

"He should never get out of prison. I find this is just punishment. He will never have the opportunity to pick up a gun and do this again," Burns said, CNN reports.

The January shooting at a meet-and-greet in Tuscon left six people dead and 13 others wounded, including Giffords, NBC reports.

The hearing was the first time the victims could confront Loughner in court about the shooting. Gifford's husband spoke on her behalf, saying "Loughner changed his wife's life forever but couldn't dent her spirit", NBS reports.

It's still unclear where Loughner will be sent to serve his sentence. The placement will be contingent on the nature of his mental illness and its treatment, news sources report.

Murder victim of apparent shooting victim found in alley

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The body of an adult male was found shot dead Wednesday morning in an alley in south Minneapolis; investigators are looking for suspects, news sources report.

Minneapolis Police Sgt. William Palmer said "officers from the department's third precinct went to the scene just before 3 a.m. after a report of gunshots being fired in the 2100 block of 10th Ave. South," Star Tribune reports.

The victim suffered multiple gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene, Palmer said in a news release Wednesday night, Pioneer press reports.

The department's homicide unit is working on the case and there are no suspects in custody, Palmer said, Star Tribune reports.

The victim's identify will be released by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office after an autopsy is performed, Pioneer Press reports.

Obituaries, analysis

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I enjoy the obituaries that take a creative approach to describing the person's life. This obituary makes an ordinary woman in the community, Phyllis Thornley, seem fascinating and accomplished.
The article can be found here.
The writer uses close family members, colleagues, and friends as sources to the obituary. He uses these three sources (a son, a niece, and friend/college) to develop more on her character and her passions.
This obituary lead is standard by describing an important aspect in her life that stands out, her love for books. It does take awhile to tell when she died, waiting three paragraphs to do this. Rather, he reiterates for three paragraphs how much books were her passion.
She was involved in the Minneapolis community so her news worthiness may be important. Although, the article focuses on her commitment to family and her traveling endeavors, rather than her community contributions.
It differs from a resume by being more expressive about a person's life. An obituary takes on a different perspective. It has people whom they were close to describing who they were, and in a resume it's usually that person describing who they are. It's a lot more like a story about their accomplishments, not just a list of accomplishments.

Power and Fuel Slowly Return to New York

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Many New Yorkers remain without basic essentials, like food and shelter, but they awoke Saturday to power being restored for the first time since Superstorm Sandy struck the region, news sources report.

Nearly all of Manhattan is back to having electricity. The main port in the city was working again, and with a widespread lack of gasoline, this means millions of gallons of gasoline is expected to start flowing to gas stations, NY Times reports.

"The Defense Department will set up emergency mobile gas stations at five locations around the New York City metropolitan area to distribute free fuel with a limit of 10 gallons per person," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, Associated Press reports.

About 60 percent of the New York metropolitan area has been restored with power. About 900,000 remain without electricity, including about 550,000 in the hardest hit are of Long Island, Cuomo said, NY Times reports.

105 people in the United States died as a result of Hurricane Sandy, including 41 in New York City,which struck the East Coast on Monday, NY Times reports.

At least 682 jailed Kurdish militants are participating in a hunger strike in at least 67 prisons across Turkey, Turkey's government announced Friday, news sources report.
No protesters are in critical condition after entering its 51st day on Thursday, Rueters reports.
The statement by Turkey's Justice Ministry directly contradicted reports issued by members of two opposition parties, CNN reports.
The inmates may start to die within the next 10 days, Turkey's main medical association warned on Thursday, saying the prime minister's dismissal of the protest as a "show" risked hardening their resolve of the matter, Rueters reports.
Their demands, according to officials from the Peace and Democracy Party (Turkey's largest Kurdish nationalist party), is permission to use the Kurdish language in education and in courtrooms, and an end to the solitary confinement and eventual release of Abdullah Ocalan, a jailed founder of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)
The protests follow a surge in violence between Turkey and the PKK, a movement fighting a guerrilla war against the Turkish state for 30 years, CNN reports.
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has played down this protest, claiming only one prisoner was on a "death fast" and was being monitored. Dozens of prisoners died in a hunger strike more than a decade ago, Reuters reports.
Turkey's semiofficial Anatolian Agency reported at least one soldier was killed and six wounded during a alleged PKK attack on a post in southeastern Turkey Friday, CNN reports.

October jobs report; unemployment up, hiring increases

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The final monthly jobs report before Election Day showed a relatively higher unemployment 7.9% from 7.8% in September while the economy added a better-than-expected 171,000 jobs, news sources report.

Both Mitt Romney and President Obama will set to work putting their spin on that data. Although, if nothing else, it "underscores the slow pace of the recovery," Fox news reports.

Economists expected the rise in unemployment; more people joined the labor force, pushing up the share of the working-age population with a job, CNN reports.

Although, former Bureau of Labor Statistics chief Keith Hall told Fox Business Network that at this rate, "we're still talking nine or 10 years" before the economy gets back to normal, FOW news reports.

The pace of hiring has not regained since January and February, when more than 250,000 jobs were being added each month, CNN reports.

"Today's employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to heal from the wounds inflicted by the worst downturn since the Great Depression," Alan B. Krueger, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said, FOW news reports.

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