November 2012 Archives

Two Winners of Record Powerball Jackpot

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By Brett Stolpestad

Two lucky ticket holders from Arizona and Missouri won the record Powerball jackpot of almost $579.9 million Thursday, the Washington Post reported.

The lucky numbers for Wednesday night's drawing were 15,16,22,23,29 and the Powerball 6. In addition the the two winners who had all six matching numbers, 8,924,123 other players also won smaller prizes, the Washington Post reported.

According to Powerball officials, Wednesday's ticket holders won almost $587.5 million, the second-largest jackpot in U.S. lottery history, the Star Tribune reported.

The convenience store outside of Kansas City will be awarded $50,000 for selling the winning ticket, the Star Tribune reported.

According to the executive director of the Multi-State Lottery Association, Chuck Strutt, Powerball players across the country bought their tickets at a rate of almost 7.8 million tickets an hour. That's almost $15.6 million an hour, the Washington Post reported.

There had not been a Powerball winner since Oct. 6 and the jackpot had been rolled over 16 consecutive times, pushing the jackpot even higher, the Star Tribune reported.

The $656 million jackpot for a Mega Millions drawing in March maintains the record for largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history, the Star Tribune reported.


Slain Little Falls Teens Linked to Additional Break-ins

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By Brett Stolpestad

The two teenage cousins killed in during Thanksgiving Day break-in have been linked to another break-in, the Star Tribune reported.

Haile Kifer and Nicholas Brady, who were killed on Thanksgiving Day when they broke into a Little Falls residence, have been linked to a burglary that took place hours before their deaths and only a few miles away, the Star Tribune reported.

The Morrison County Sheriff Michel Wetzel released a statement Wednesday that said investigators had found prescription drugs and other items in the teenagers' red Mitsubishi Eclipse, the Pioneer Press reported.

The drugs and other items were reported stolen from another Little Falls residence a few miles away from where the teens were killed, the Pioneer Press reported.

Sheriff's deputies reported that they had approached Brady the night before he was killed after his car was reported by a homeowner on Hilton Road. The homeowner, Richard Johnson, reported that the car was "parked suspiciously," the Pioneer Press reported.

Brady told police that he and Kifer were driving around and had run out of gas, the Star Tribune reported.

When deputies searched the car after the shootings, they found several bottles of prescription medication with Johnson's name on them, the Star Tribune reported.

Little Falls Man Charged

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By Brett Stolpestad

A Little Falls man was charged with second degree-murder Monday for shooting and killing two teenagers in his home on Thanksgiving Day, the New York Times reported.

Byron Davis Smith, 64, was charged Monday after he shot and killed Nicholas Brady, 17, and Haile Kifer, 18, during a Thanksgiving Day break-in, the New York Times reported.

The two teenagers, Kifer and Brady, were unarmed when they reportedly broke into Smith's home, the Pioneer Press reported. Smith shot both of the teenagers multiple times with is revolver and a rifle, the New York Times reported.

Smith acknowledged in court that he fired "more shots than I needed to," the New York Times reported.

The Morrison County sheriff, Michel Wetzel, said that Smith had waited until Friday to report the deaths of the two teenagers. Authorities agree that Smith used excessive and unnecessary force in protecting his home, the Pioneer Press reported.

Friends of Smith reported that Smith experienced multiple break-ins in his former residence near the Mississippi River. Smith had feared that the two teenagers were carrying weapons, the Pioneer Press reported.

Over 100 Killed In Factory Fire in Bangladesh

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By Brett Stolpestad

At least 112 people perished Saturday and Sunday after a fire engulfed a garment factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh, the Washington Post reported.

The fire at the eight-story factory, Tazreen Fashions, started at about 7 p.m. on Saturday. It took firefighters all night to put the fire out, the New York Times reported.

The fire department operations director, Maj. Mohammad Mahbub, told the Associated Press that 12 people had died in hospitals after jumping from the building to escape the flames, the Washington Post reported.

According to officials, the factory did not have a sufficient amount of emergency exits, the Washington Post reported. The Bangladesh garment industry has become notorious for its poor safety conditions. According to an anti-sweatshop advocate group in Amsterdam, there have been almost 500 Bangladeshi victims in other factory fires since 2006, the New York Times reported.

Experts say that industrial disasters like this could have been easily avoided if factories would have taken proper safety precautions, the New York Times reported.

Tazreen Fashions Ltd., which makes products for Wal-Mart and other European and U.S. companies, had received a "high-risk" safety rating by a Wal-Mart "ethical sourcing" assessor in May of last year, the Washington Post reported.

The cause of the fire was not immediately determined by officials, the Washington Post reported.

Analysis: Diversity

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By Brett Stolpestad

In a New York Times article, Sarah Maslin Nir reports about a community leader in Queens, New York. Muhammad Rashid is immigrated from Bahrain to New York in 1997 and has fought for immigrants' rights and cultural diversity in his community. The article focuses on Rashid's push for the practice of yoga in the Muslim community. As a Muslim himself, Rashid said that he used to believe yoga was "denouncing" to the Muslim religion. Rashid has since changed his mind and now actually encourages other people with Muslim backgrounds to practice yoga as he does. Many Muslims in Queens still believe that yoga is a sin against Islam and is therefor forbidden. But Rashid still teaches yoga and encourages others to participate.

This story is written to illustrate the barriers that still exist between people of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds in diverse neighborhoods. The article highlights the stigma that is associated with practices outside of Muslim traditions. The article also outlines the opposition to yoga among other religious sects, including Christians.

This article moves beyond stereotype by researching and discovering the origins for the separation between certain religious traditions. However, the focus of the article is meant to show how some people are moving beyond the restrictions of their religious traditions and are encouraging others to be open to new experiences. The article gives voice to people from different backgrounds, allowing the reader to understand the reasons as to why some religious traditions are apprehensive about practices stemming from Hinduism.

The article uses a variety of sources but most of them come from people in the community. the reported talked to several people in the community to see what they think of the practice of yoga.

The article moves beyond stereotypes by investigating individuals in the community and reporting on their thoughts/opinions. The article does not generalize when it comes to the beliefs associated with the Muslim religion. Instead, the article gives a voice to those who practice the religion. The article reports on the beliefs and opinions of individuals from both sides of the argument.

Another Man Sentenced 21 Years In St. Paul Gang Rape Case

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By Brett Stolpestad

Another man was convicted and sentenced to 21 years in prison Wednesday for the rape of a 14-year old girl, the Star Tribune reported.

Vang Tou Ger Vue of St. Paul was sentenced to 21 years in prison Wednesday by a Ramsey County judge for his involvement in the gang-related rape of a 14-year-old girl, the Star Tribune reported.

Vue, 19, will also remain on conditional release for 10 years after his prison sentence has expired. Vue will be required to register as a predatory sex offender for the rest of his life, the Star Tribune reported.

Vue is one of nine other gang-members, thought to have ties with the True Blood street gang, involved in the rape of the 14-year-old girl, the Star Tribune reported.

The rape occurred in November of last year. In his plea hearing, Vue said he raped the girl as five other men waited their turn, the Pioneer Press reported.

Vue pleaded guilty on Oct. 3 to aiding and abetting first-degree criminal sexual assault. Vue was the fifth, of nine convicted, to plead guilty, the Pioneer Press reported.

Israel Targets Government Buildings In Gaza Strip

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By Brett Stolpestad

Israel has expanded its assault on the Gaza Strip to include government buildings on Saturday, destroying the four-story headquarters of the Hamas prime minister, the Washington Post reported.

The headquarters of the Hamas Prime Minister was completely destroyed in an airstrike that targeted government buildings along the Gaza strip, the Washington Post reported.

Israel said that over 200 targets were hit in Gaza. The attacks were launched after Israel intercepted a missel fired by Gaza militants aimed at the populous city of Tel Aviv, the New York Times reported.

The missel fired at Tel Aviv was one of 60 missels that were fired by Gaza militants into Israel on Saturday, the New York Times reported.

The attacks by Israel on the coastal strip has raised questions of wether Israel has expanded its target range to include Hamas government buildings, the Washington Post reported.

Red Bull Crashed Ice Returning to St. Paul

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By Brett Stolpestad

St. Paul will be hosting the Red Bull Crashed Ice event for the second consecutive year this January and this time the course will be taller, longer and tougher, the Star Tribune reported.

The course for the Crashed Ice event will be longer and higher than last year's course, officials said Wednesday. The course will be constructed to wind down the hill of the St.Paul Cathedral, the Pioneer Press reported.

The ice-covered course will be over 1,300 feet long. Skaters will drop more than 130 feet as they make their way down the course, dodging obstacles and other skaters on the way.

The Crashed Ice event is set to begin the same weekend as the St. Paul Winter Carnival from Jan. 24-26. Last year's Winter Carnival drew nearly 100,000 people to the city and generated almost $20 million, the Pioneer Press reported.

The Red Bull event will not be considered a Winter Carnival event but it is the hope of city officials that Crashed Ice will be come a signature attraction for the carnival, the Star Tribune reported.

The Red Bull crashed Ice race in St. Paul will be the only race set to be held in the United States, the Star Tribune reported.

By Brett Stolpestad

General John R. Allen, commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan has been pulled into to the expanding scandal revolving around former General David Petraeus's extramarital affair, the New York Times reported.

The Washington Post reported that General Allen is currently being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with regards to his "inappropriate communication" with Jill Kelley, a woman from Tampa, Fla. who made reports of harassment from Petraeus's mistress.

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta released a statement Tuesday saying that the F.B.I. referred to the Pentagon "a matter involving" General Allen, the New York Times reported. The Inspector General of the Pentagon then conducted an investigation into the 20,000 to 30,000 pages of documents, mostly emails, between General Allen and Kelley.

The Pentagon did not make a statement on the nature of the relationship between Kelley and General Allen, both of whom are married, but another senior official close to Allen expressed that they were not having an affair, the Washington Post reported.

Adultery can be considered a crime under military law, but the U.S. senior official assured investigators that the emails between Kelley and Allen were about "routine stuff," the Washington Post reported.

Syrian Conflict Pulling In Neighboring Countries

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By Brett Stolpestad

The civil war in Syria has provoked military from both Turkey and Israel, with Turkey launching deadly airstrikes on Syrian rebel positions and Israeli tank commanders attacking Syrian artillery units, the New York Times reported.

The escalation of violence from Syria's neighbors is an indication of the growing tensions in both Israel and Turkey in response to the Syrian civil war, the New York Times reported.

Turkey has retaliated on several occasions in response to deadly mortar attacks on the Turkish village of Akcakale, the Washington Post reported. Turkey has also scrambled military aircraft in response to Syrian helicopters flying too close to the border.

Thousands of Syrian refugees continue to spill into Turkey as they try to escape the violence. Turkish refugee camps are now home to almost 120,000 Syrians with almost 70,000 others living outside of the camps, the Washington Post reported.

Israel is also constantly affected by the Syrian conflict and retaliated Monday when Israeli tanks fired upon a Syrian armored vehicle. The attack was in response to fighting that spilled over into Israeli-controlled Golan Heights, the Washington Post reported.

Lebanon, who has not yet retaliated, has also experienced casualties from the fighting in Syria.

By Brett Stolpestad

The New York Times article published Nov. 8 relies heavily on numbers to report on falling stocks and the connection to worries about the looming "fiscal cliff." This news story reports on the falling tock values of several different companies. It also reports the numbers in several market index firms such as the Dow Jones, the Standard and Poor's 500-stock index and the Nasdaq.

The article reported that the McDonalds shares fell 2 percent to about $85.13. The article also reported on Apple's falling stocks which fell to $537.35 a share, about 3.6%. In this paragraph of the story, the reported illustrated these values in two different ways, indicating both the current price of the stock and the percentage at which they have declined. Using both prices and percentages helps the reader understand the condition of the companies.

The article also reports on the Nasdaq, Dow Jones and S & P .500 averages. The Dow jones 121.41 points, about .94 percent. The S & P .500 stock index fell 17.02 points, or about 1.22 percent. The Nasdaq composite index fell 41.70 points; about 1.42 percent.

The values of these indexes are one of the main focus of the story and the reporter illustrates the values in two different ways to properly inform the reader. The objective of the article was to report on the suffering economy and the worries of investors as the fiscal cliff approaches, which would involve spending cuts and tax increases The numbers are not overwhelming and the focus of the story is properly supported by the numbers.

The sources of the story are the Nasdaq, the Dow Jones and the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index.

Como Zoo Polar Bear Recovered After Health Scare

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By Brett Stolpestad

The Como Park Zoo and Conservatory's visiting polar bear, Berlin, has rejoined the rest of the bears after recovering from major surgery, the Pioneer Press reported.

Berlin was relocated to the Como Zoo after the major flooding at the Lake Superior Zoo in Duluth. After being relocated, zookeepers observed that Berlin was acting out of the ordinary and later found that the bear was suffering from internal bleeding, the Star Tribune reported.

It was determined that the internal bleeding was caused by a mass of dead tissue. Berlin underwent major surgery at the University of Minnesota's Veterinary Medical Center to remove the dead tissue, the Pioneer Press reported.

Berlin has since made a strong recovery from the surgery and has rejoined the two other twin bears Buzz and Neil at the Como Zoo exhibit, the Star Tribune reported.

Abusive Priest Pleads Guilty In Sexual Abuse Case

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By Brett Stolpestad

An Oakdale catholic priest pleaded guilty in a Ramsey County District Court Thursday, admitting to sexually abusing two boys and possessing child pornography, the Pioneer Press reported.

Curtis Carl Wehmeyer, 48, admitted to sexually abusing the boys while he was a pastor at Blessed Sacrament in St. Paul, the Pioneer Press reported. Wehmeyer pleaded also pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography.

According to a statement from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Wehmeyer is banned from the ministry. However, he will still remain a priest without the ability to perform any duties of the church, the Star Tribune reported.

Wehmeyer admitted on Thursday of molesting two boys, 14 and 15 years old, from June to August of 2010 in a camper that was parked outside of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in St. Paul, the Star Tribune reported. Wehmeyer was parish pastor at the time.

Wehmeyer pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree criminal sexual assault, two counts of fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct and 17 counts of possessing child pornography, the Star Tribune reported.

Wehmeyer did not receive a plea bargain and his sentencing is scheduled for February, the Star Tribune reported.

CIA Director Petraeus Resigns

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By Brett Stolpestad

Central Intelligence Agency director David H. Petraeus unexpectedly announced his resignation Friday after engaging in an extramarital affair, the New York Times reported.

The highly decorated U.S. General sent his letter of resignation to President Obama Thursday, explaining that his actions were unacceptable, both as a husband and the leader of the C.I.A., the Los Angeles Times reported.

The Star Tribune reported that the affair was discovered during and investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to officials.

President Obama was shocked by the unexpected call from Petraeus, having no advanced warning, the Washington Post reported. President Obama accepted the resignation before Petraeus issued his statement.

President Obama praised Petraeus for his decades of service to the U.S. and added that Petraeus's lifetime of service made the United States a safer place, the Washington Post reported.

Deputy director of the C.I.A., Michael J. Morell, will reassume the position of acting director of the C.I.A., a position he held previously after Leon E. Penetta left last year, the New York Times reported.

At Lest 39 Dead After Earthquake in Guatemala

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By Brett Stolpestad

A powerful and deadly earthquake shook Guatemala Wednesday destroying home, knocking out electricity and leaving at least 52 dead with more still missing, the Washington Post reported.

The earthquake, which occurred along Guatemala's Pacific coast Wednesday morning, was one of the most powerful earthquakes to hit Guatemala in almost 36 years, the Los Angeles Times reported. The magnitude of the earthquake was measured to be 7.4.

President Otto Perez Molina told the New York Times that it is the most devastating earthquake since the one in 1976, which was responsible for the death of almost 23,000 people.

The earthquake has affected almost 1.2 million people as its force could be felt across nearly the entire country, Perez told the Washington Post.

There have been 70 aftershocks in addition to the initial quake with some reaching a magnitude of 4.9, Perez said.

Almost 700 people are now in shelters. With homes destroyed, no power and no running, water, people continue to take shelter and wait out the aftershocks, the Washington Post reported.


By Brett Stolpestad

President Barack Obama's reelection Wednesday may have sparked a new sense of urgency for congress to figure out a new budget deal for the United States, the New York Times reported.

House speaker John Boehner spoke Wednesday of a possible compromise, saying that Republicans in congress are willing to accept a new budget deal that would involve raising federal revenue, the New York Times reported.

Boehner said that the "new revenue" compromise is aimed at cutting the national debt and avoiding the "fiscal cliff" in January which would involve tax increases and spending cuts, the Washington Post reported.

Boehner also said that Wednesday's election results represented a plea from voters for party leadership to stop the stand-still and come to an agreement, the Washington Post reported. Republicans will be willing to except a "new revenue" deal under the right conditions for the purpose of forging a bipartisan agreement, Boehner said.

The conditions under which this deal will be made may include a tax code reform that closes loop holes, eliminates or reduces deductions, and lowers income tax, the New York Times reported.

Analysis: Richard N. Current Obituary

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By Brett Stolpestad

The obituary for Richard N. Current in the New York Times follows the standard structure of an obituary. The lead follows the New York Times style, leading with the full name of the person who has died followed by an identifier that summarizes notable characteristics and achievements. In this case, the New York Times describes Richard N. Current as a Civil War historian whose work helped "demythologize" Abraham Lincoln and helped further legitimize Lincoln studies. The first paragraph also includes the time and place element as well as the age at which Current died.

The New York Times uses primarily family and colleagues of Current as sources. For the circumstances of his death, they cite his wife, Marcia Ewing Current. For other information about his characteristics and accomplishments, they site other professional historians and former colleagues.

The news value of this story are found in the impact of Current's accomplishments as well his age at the time of his death. He was 100 years old before he died of complication's from Parkinson's disease, his wife said. But what is also newsworthy is Current's influence on the study of Lincoln and the Civil War. Current wrote, co-wrote and published a number of titles on Lincoln and the civil war. Current was one of the leaders in the field during the 1960s. The story of the Civil War and Lincoln is still being told in many different ways today. Current was one of the ones who brought Lincoln studies to the forefront of a new generation of scholars.

Wolf Hunting Season Opens in Minnesota

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By Brett Stolpestad

Wolf hunting season in Minnesota opened Saturday with the trapping season to open later this November, the Pioneer Press reported.

This is the first wolf hunting season in Minnesota since wolves were taken off the endangered list last January. In fact, it is the first-ever managed wolf hunting season in Minnesota, the Star Tribune reported.

Minnesota has set the wolf hunting and trapping quota to 400 wolves for the season but so far there have been only seven wolves registered, the Star Tribune reported.

The quota for the early season is set at 200 wolves distributed to 3,600 hunters with wolf licenses, the Star Tribune reported.

Opponents to the wolf hunt lost the battle to block the hunting season but are still fighting the Department of Natural Resources. One of the opponents, Howling for Wolves, plans to prostest outside the DNR's St. Paul headquarters on Friday, the Pioneer Press reported.

Execution Video from Syria Raises War Crime Concerns

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By Brett Stolpestad

The United Nations said Friday that a video of Syrian rebels kicking and then executing captive soldiers with machines guns could provide evidence of war crimes, the New York Times reported.

The video first appeared Thursday and has since circulated widely through the internet, attracting much attention, the New York Times reported.

The United Nations believes that Presidents Bashar Assad's regime is responsible for much of the war crimes since the conflict in Syria began, the Washington Post reported. But human rights activists say that the atrocities have been committed by both sides and are on the rise.

The U.N. said that they had already collected evidence of war crimes from both the government and rebel groups and that this video will be further evidence to support the prosecution, the New York Times reported.

It is unclear which rebel faction is responsible for the executions depicted on the video, the Washington Post reported.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from November 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

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