June 2012 Archives

Four children injured in campfire accident

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Four children were injured Friday night when an adult poured an accelerant on a campfire in southeastern Minnesota, said the Star Tribune.

The accelerant caused the fire to explode, injuring the four children at Money Creek Haven Campground north of Houston, said the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

One of the children, a four-year-old girl, was flown to Regions Hospital in St. Paul. A boy was also flown to Gunderson Lutheran Medical Center in LaCrosse, Wisc., said the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the Houston County Sheriff's Department have not reported on the severity of the injuries.

Severe storms killed 13 people and left hundreds of thousands of homes without power in the eastern United States Friday night, reported the New York Daily News.

According to the New York Daily News, a string of strong thunderstorms passed through Mid-Atlantic United States on Friday night with winds exceeding 80 mph, leaving at least 13 people dead. The storms tore down trees and power lines and caused millions of dollars in damage.

The region had been experiencing extreme heat prior to the storms, with temperatures exceeding 100 degrees, said the Washington Post. The high temperatures continued into Saturday and are predicted to continue into Sunday.

With more thunderstorms predicted for Saturday night, states of emergency were declared in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, reported the Washington Post. The National Guard was called in along with other emergency crews to clear roads and attempt to restore power to hospitals and other facilities.

According to the Washington Post, it may take workers up to seven days to restore power to 1.3 million homes and businesses that lost electricity during the storm.

European Union makes move to bolster Euro

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European Union leaders took action to increase confidence in the Euro during the latest all-night meeting since the Euro crisis began, reported the New York Times.

According to the New York Times, the leaders moved to increase flexibility with bailout funds, a move meant to save the economies of Spain and Italy, the third and fourth largest European economic zones. Specifically, the leaders have agreed to give surplus cash from the European Central Bank directly to Span and Italy as opposed to loans that would increase national debt.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel had previously disagreed with direct lending by the European Central Bank to banks in Eurozone countries, said the Los Angeles Times. However, following meeting, Merkel altered her stance saying the bailouts were necessary for the collective good of the EU.

Peter Madoff to plead guilty in ponzi scheme

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Peter Madoff, the brother of Ponzi scheme mastermind Bernard Madoff, will plead guilty to conspiracy and falsifying records on Friday , the Associated Press said.

According to the Associated Press, Madoff is officially pleading guilty to two criminal counts, including conspiracy to commit securities fraud, falsify records of an investment adviser, falsify records of a broker dealer, make false filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, commit mail fraud and obstruct the Internal Revenue service..

According to the New York Times, Madoff's plea deal does not include an admission that he knew of or actively participated in his brother's Ponzi scheme. Instead, Madoff has admitted to acting as a false compliance officer and allowing his brother to commit his crimes.

Madoff has agreed to serve a prison sentence of 10 years as part of the plea bargain. He has also agreed to forfeit $143 billion, including all of his personal assets, the Associated Press said.


Stoudemire fined for anti-gay slur

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The NBA fined Amare Stoudemire of the New York Knicks $50,000 on Tuesday for tweeting an anti-gay slur , The New York Times reported

Stoudemire, a star forward for the Knicks, used the homophobic term in a private message on Twitter sent in response to a tweet made by a fan questioning Stoudemire's effort last season, the New York Times said.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the fan took a screen shot of the tweet and publicly posted it. Several other blogs posted the tweet as well.

Stoudemire apologized to the fan with a second tweet on Sunday morning, which the fan publicly posted as well, the Los Angeles Times.


The was a great deal of attribution used in a story by the Star Tribune about a woman who was stabbed to death in a Minneapolis parking ramp Saturday night.

Since the story concerns a crime, most of the attribution is credited to police sources, although employees of the parking ramp and a nearby restaurant are quoted in the latter half of the story. The reporter put most of the police attribution in the first half of the article, where information about the crime itself is written. The quotes from employees come in the second half of the story when the reporter writes about the fallout of the stabbing.

I found the reporter's method of setting up the attribution to be quite effective. I like how the reporter clustered all of the police attribution at the beginning of the story where the hard news about the crime is present, and then grouped the rest of the information about the fallout of the stabbing at the end o the article. The reporter did an exceptional job of placing the most newsworthy information at the top while keeping the less important and more detailed information at the end.

Twins beat Reds behind Willingham's home run

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The Minnesota Twins defeated the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday afternoon thanks to a late-inning home run by Josh Willingham, reported the Star Tribune.

With the Twins trailing 3-2 entering the ninth-inning, catcher Joe Mauer hit a double off Reds left-hander Aroldis Chapman with one out to set up Willingham's dramatic home run. Today's game was only the second Mauer played this week due to a quadriceps injury he sustained on June 17, reported the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Twins closer Jared Burton entered the game in the bottom of the inning and notched his first major league save, said the Star Tribune.

Twins right-hander Scott Diamond earned his sixth victory of the season after pitching eight strong innings, but surrendered an eighth-inning home run to Reds first baseman Joey Votto that gave Cincinnati a 3-2 lead, said the Star Tribune.

However, Willingham's home run in the next inning erased all memory of Votto's heroics.

The Twins improved to 29-42 on the season with the victory, but still sit in last place in the American League Central.

One tiger cub born in Minnesota Zoo survives

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Only one of two tiger cubs born at the Minnesota Zoo on Sunday survived the week, said the Star Tribune.

The two rare Amur tiger cubs were the first tiger cubs to be born at Minnesota Zoo in 8 years, said the St. Paul Pioneer Press. The cubs were hand-raised by zoo staff because the mother was not showing them quality care.

Only one of the cubs, the larger and younger of the two, survived the first week, said the Star Tribune.

Since the Minnesota Zoo opened in 1978, nearly 40 Amur tigers have been born at the zoo, said the Star Tribune.

The Amur Tiger, also known as the Siberian tiger, is an endangered species, with only an estimated 350 remaining in the world, said the St. Paul Pioneer Press.


Syria shoots down Turkish plane

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Syria shot down a warplane from Turkey on Friday that had violated its airspace, said the Los Angeles Times.

The Turkish warplane was was flying just off the coast of Syria when Syrian military forces shot it down, reported the Los Angeles Times. The plane crashed into the Mediterranean Sea about half a mile off the Syrian coast.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the fate of the two Turkish pilots is unknown.

President Abdullah Gul of Turkey said the plane was flying a routine route and its presence over Syria was not intended as a hostile act. reported the New York Times.

The incident is another sign of tense relations between Syria and its neighbors, said the New York Times. Turkey has provided support to refugees and militia groups who oppose Syrian President Bashar-al-Assad.

President Abdullah Gul of Turkey said his country will do "whatever is necessary" to respond to Syria's attack, said the New York Times.

Jury finds Sandusky guilty on child abuse charges

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A jury found former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky guilty of child sex abuse late Friday night, reported the New York Daily News.

Sandusky was found guilty on 45 of 48 counts of child sex abuse after the jury deliberated for more than 20 hours, said the Los Angeles Times. The charges covered sexual assaults of 10 young boys over 15 years.

Sandusky could spend the rest of his life in prison after sentencing, reported the New York Daily News.

The case disgraced the Penn State football program and led to the firing of legendary head coach Joe Paterno and university President Graham Spanier after they failed to properly deal with reports that Sandusky abused the boys in showers at the school's football facilities.

Two other university officials are charged with failing to report the suspected abuse. Athletic director Tim Curley and Vice President Gary Schultz both await trial for perjury charges related to their testimony before a grand jury investigating the trial, said the Los Angeles Times.

St. Paul artist LeRoy Neiman dies

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LeRoy Neiman died Wednesday in New York, said the New York Daily News. He was 91.

A cause of death has not been released for Neiman, a famed painter known for his paintings of the world's biggest sporting stars and events, reported the New York Daily News.

According to the Star Tribune, Neiman, who was born in St. Paul, Minn., is most famous for his ability to paint sporting events as they unfolded before him.

Neiman's portfolio consists of paintings from five different Olympads and portraits of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, among numerous other works.

Before pursuing a career as an artist, Neiman served in World War II and went on to study and later teach art at the Art Institute in Chicago.

Neiman, who rarely took vacations or days off, worked daily from his New York apartment where he lived with his wife of 50 years, Janet, said the Star Tribune.

Microsoft reveals new tablet

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Microsoft revealed its first entry into the tablet market, the Surface, on Monday, reported the Los Angeles Times.

Microsoft said that the Surface is as fully functional as a Windows desktop and comes with the complete Microsoft Office program. The tablet also features the latest Intel CPU.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the Surface has a built-in kickstand and a magnetic smart cover, which also doubles as a touch keyboard.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Microsoft even focused on details as small as the sound of the kickstand.

Apple, the company who currently dominates the tablet market with the iPad, had no comment, said the Wall Street Journal.

Gartner analyst Michael Gartenberg said that the Surface is a bold challenge against Apple, but the tablet's battery life and price will ultimately determine its marketability.

Analysis: Rodney King found dead in pool

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The reporter followed a very simple approach when writing his lead for the Los Angeles Times story about the death of Rodney King.

The lead has five news elements, including timeliness, proximity, prominence, emotion and conflict. Proximity, prominence, and emotion are the three most obvious elements of this lead because King lived just outside of Los Angeles and was a victim of a notorious LAPD beating in 1992 that sparked riots throughout the city. Timeliness is present in any newsworthy story and some conflict exists due to the King's controversial past.

Since the story was about the death of King, who became somewhat of a celebrity after the beating, the reporter followed hard-news lead approach. The simple facts of the case, combined with King's celebrity status, made a compelling lead for the story. The reporter did not need to include any creativity in the lead to catch readers' attention.

Thanks to a timely RBI single by Denard Span, the Minnesota Twins defeated the Milwaukee Brewers in 15 innings Sunday afternoon, reported the Associated Press.

Span's single off Brewers left-hander Juan Perez scored Brain Dozier from third base, just moments after Trevor Plouffe was thrown out trying to score the winning run from second base on a single by Jamey Carroll.

The Associated Press reported that the game officially took four hours and 50 minutes to complete, and was the longest game in the two year history of Target Field. The game included a 42 minute rain delay before the 12th inning.

Twins catcher Joe Mauer left the game in the seventh inning with a right quadriceps injury after Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks collided with him at home plate. He was listed as day to day following the game, reported the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

With the game tied 1-1 in the fifth inning, Corey Hart hit a three-run homer that scored Nyjer Morgan and Rickie Weeks to give Milwaukee a 4-1 lead.

The Twins rallied to tie the game in the seventh, with RBI singles from Carroll, Ben Revere and Mauer off Brewers starter Zack Greinke.

The Twins had a chance to win the game when Ryan Doumit reached third base in the 11th, but Span grounded out to end the inning.

Three innings later, Span ended the game with his with his sharp single to right field.


Romney speaks to Christian group about Israel

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Mitt Romney spoke to a Christian conservative group in Washington, D.C,, about U.S. relations with Israel and Iran, said the Los Angeles Times.

Romney, the Republican presidential candidate, spoke via satellite to the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference, shortly after he spoke at a conference in Pennsylvania.

Romney criticized President Barack Obama for being too lenient on Iran's nuclear weapons program and for not giving enough support to Israel, said the Chicago Tribune.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the audience, which mostly included members of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, an evangelical Christian political organization, responded to Romney's statements about the president with a great deal of applause and cheering.

The audience's response was a good sign for Romney, whose Mormon beliefs were a point of conflict with conservative Christian voters during the Republican Primaries, said the Chicago Tribune.

Obama, however, has not had the same luck with conservative Christians as of late. The Faith and Freedom Coatlion recently posted a picture of the president with the phrase "Stop Obama's War on Religion" written underneath, reported the Los Angeles Times.

Phil Jackson calls Knicks "clumsy"

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Phil Jackson ripped the New York Knicks roster in a recent interview, said the USA Today.

The recently retired Jackson said the team's was roster "clumsy" in an interview with "HBO Real Sports".

The players "don't fit well together," Jackson said, and targeted Knicks' stars Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire in his criticism.

Stoudemire "needs to play in a certain system and a certain way," he said."Carmelo Anthony needs to be a better passer. The ball can't stop every time it hits his hands.

Jackson had been tied to the Knicks' head coaching job after Mike D'Antoni resigned on March 4. However, Jackson told HBO that he's glad the team never called him back after his first interview, reported the New York Daily News.

Jackson is recovering from knee surgery he had in March and declined to comment any further about a return to coaching, said the New York Daily News.

Egypt's constitutional court dissolved the nation's recently elected parliament on Thursday, the New York Times said.

The Egyptian Supreme Constitutional Court a panel of judges appointed by former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarek, ruled the first democratically elected Parliament invalid because of a misapplication of rules for independent candidates, said the New York Times.

The court's decision comes two days before Egypt's final round of presidential elections on Sunday.

The decision was a setback for the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist political party that controlled Parliament before the ruling. The Brotherhood had hoped to expand its power with the election of its candidate, Mohamed Morsi, who is running against Ahmed Shafik, the last prime minister of the Mubarek regime, in the presidential election, reported the Los Angeles Times.

The Brotherhood is concerned that the constitutional court's decision shows that the remnants of the Mubarek regime have not given up and are trying to reclaim power in Egypt.

According to the New York Times, however, Brotherhood officials expect Parliament to meet for its next weekly meeting in spite of the constitutional court's decision.

The constitutional court does not have the power to dissolve Parliament, and the Brotherhood will continue to compete against any opposition, said Morsi.


Muslims from the St. Anthony area expressed outrage after members of the St. Anthony City Council voted down a proposal for a new Islamic center.

A crowd of about 150 people attended Tuesday's city council meeting to see if the council would approve the proposed Abu-Huraira Islamic Center, the Star Tribune reported.

The council voted 4-1 against the proposal.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that the council voted against the proposal because the Islamic center was to be located in an area classified as light industrial. At the same meeting, the council approved a change in city ordinance that banned religious and non-religious assemblies from occurring inside light industrial zones.

Ali Garushi, a spokesman for the Islamic Center, said that Muslim leaders from the St. Anthony area are considering filing a lawsuit against the council for its decision. Garushi said that council's decision is an example of discrimination against Muslims.

According to the Star Tribune, proposed Islamic centers in Plymouth, Bloomington and Wilmar, Minn., were opposed as well before local governments eventually overturned their decisions.

Justice Department will not retry John Edwards

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The United States Department of Justice said it will not retry former United States senator John Edwards on corruption charges that were dropped earlier this month, reported the New York Times.

The decision comes two weeks after a federal jury in Greensboro, N.C., could not reach a decision on any one Edwards' five campaign finance fraud charges. Edwards had been accused of using money from campaign donations to cover up an extramarital affair he was having with Rielle Hunter during his bid for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.

The Los Angeles Times reported that a lack of evidence combined with unreliable testimony from the prosecution led to a deadlock in the juror's decision about the charges.

Assistant Atty. Gen. Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department's Criminal Division said the government respects the jurors' decision and will not seek a retrial.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Edwards had faced up to 30 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines had the jury convicted him on all of the charges.

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