December 14, 2008

Shoes thrown at Bush during rare visit to Baghdad

A pair of shoes were thrown at President Bush during a press conference in Baghdad.

In his fourth and last visit as President to the country, Bush addressed the newly signed Strategic Framework Agreement, a security pact that, according to Bloomberg "sets June 30, 2009, as the deadline for U.S. combat troops to withdraw from all Iraqi cities and towns. The date for all U.S. troops to leave Iraq is December 31, 2011."

As Bush spoke to a room of reporters, an Iraqi journalist, Muntadhar al-Zaidi, flung the two shoes as Bush managed to duck both lodges.

According to CNN, as was pinned down and then dragged away, al -Zaidi, screamed out in Arabic ""This is a farewell ... you dog!"

“All I can report is it is a size 10,� Bush said after the incident.

Bloomberg reported that "In Arab culture, throwing shoes is a grave show of disrespect."

Although both articles generally presented the same information, Bloomberg included information about President-elect Obama's plans for action and the effects that Bush's previous visits to the country will have on Obama's plans.

I also noticed that quotes were different, but essentially meant the same thing. For instance, CNN reported that the al-Zaidi said "This is a farewell ... you dog!" While Bloomberg reported that al-Zaidi said, “This is the farewell kiss, you dog.�

December 7, 2008

Tainted pork in Ireland leads to investigation of other countries

On Saturday, people in Ireland were warned not to consume in pork products because contaminants are believed to be spread in them.

According to Reuters, "The Irish government has recalled all domestic pork products from shops, restaurants and food processing plants because of contamination with dioxin -- which in some forms and concentrations, and with long exposure, can cause cancer and other health problems."

Dioxins can easily enter an animal's system due to its food ingestion or the environment it lives in, and remains in the pigs fat.

The government issued a recall on pork products dating back to Sept. 1 " after discovering potentially dangerous dioxins in pigs and pig feed at 80 to 200 times the safety limit." (Associated Press)

The Associated Press reported that "The government’s warning that Irish pork may have been tainted for months threatens a pig industry worth more than $600 million annually."

Because Irish pork is also consumed heavily in other countries, the government has also began an investigation as to whether the contamination has spread elsewhere such as Asia and Europe.

While both articles presented similar information, the article by the Associated Press presented all of the essential facts and was written for a reader who had never heard of this story. The article by Reuters was more of a feature that included interviews from families from Ireland and more quotes from various officials in Ireland.

November 30, 2008

NPR journalist experiences car bombing in Baghdad

A bomb attached to the car of an NPR reporter and three Iraqi colleagues went off as it sat parked on a street in West Baghdad. All four escaped injury.

Reporter Ivan Watson stood nearly fifteen feet away while interviewing two area shop owners when the car exploded due to a bomb that was placed underneath the driver’s seat of the “armored� BMW.

Watson reportedly told NPR that the “bomb appeared to have been one of the so-called sticky bombs that insurgents have increasingly used to lethal effect in Baghdad over the past year.�

According to the Associated Press, several anonymous Iraqi soldiers “said they had arrested a suspect, an egg vendor who had suspected family links to a member of al-Qaida in Iraq.�

NPR reported that an “Iraqi army officer said an informant had called in with a tip that the bomb had been attached to the BMW while the NPR journalists were inside the restaurant.�

Because increased security in Baghdad has stalled the use of truck bombs as of recently, “sticky bombs� have come to replace the former as they are attached to many vehicles daily.

I really enjoyed reading the story by NPR because the entire article came from a direct source that was actually there and had experienced everything. Reading an article in the first person was a different experience, but it made me trust the information that was being relayed to me more.

I also noticed that NPR mentioned the street where the bombing happened and then gave the history of the street, which was a great addition to the story and very interesting to read.
“Rabiye Street was once a bustling commercial boulevard, where boutiques and popular cafes faced the gardens of a grassy median. At the height of the fighting in 2005, 2006 and 2007, this district was the scene of intense clashes and bloody massacres involving insurgents from al-Qaida in Iraq.�

I found it interesting that in the Associated Press’s article, the author said that the Iraqi soldiers who arrested the vendor remained anonymous due to media relations policies, yet in the NPR account, one of the soldiers was named. "I received a call just three minutes before it exploded," said Iraqi national army Capt. Heider Fawzi. (NPR)

November 23, 2008

Four-day strike in Chile leads to workers pay increase

A four-day strike in Santiago, Chile ended on Friday after the government approved a proposal for a ten percent pay raise for all government employees.

The pay increase, which goes in to effect Dec. 10 had been subjected to different amounts based on negotiations between the workers and the government. The workers originally asked for a 14.5 percent increase while the government first offered a 6.5 percent increase which they then increased days later to 9.5 percent. According to the Brunei Times, the government “was forced to improve its offer again after the Lower House of Congress rejected a 9.5 per cent increase.�

According to, “Because of the strike, garbage piled up on streets, 18 hospitals were paralyzed and 3,000 surgeries were postponed. Even weddings and autopsies were not performed.� reported the number of employees affected as being 450,000 while the Brunei Times reported 400,000.

I found it interesting that the Brunei Times put this (random) political spin on the situation: “…the latest in a series of protests against President Michelle Bachelet's ruling centre-left coalition, which polls show could be ousted by rightist opponents in a presidential election next year.� I feel like in order to write something like this, the reporter needed to offer other information regarding this issue, especially for people who aren’t familiar with the current political climate of Chile.

November 16, 2008

Rebels suspected of killing Peru police officers in ambush

At around 2:30 a.m. police were patrolling an area known for drug trafficking in the Ayacucho province when, according to the Associated Press, “attackers opened fire on their vehicle from both sides of a highway…�

A national police communiqué told the UK Associated Press that “the Shining Path Rebels are suspected of the killing of the four highway police officers.�

The Shining Rebels are known around the area as “narcoterrorists,� who work with local drug traffickers who pay the Shining Rebels for protection.

According the Associated Press, “One officer died in the attack, two died from gunshot wounds in a hospital and the fourth was in critical condition, police said.�

Interior Minister Remigio Hernani told the UK Associated Press that “the attackers may have been retaliating for police seizures of drugs.�

The US Associated Press’s story provided more background information on the history of Shining Path Rebels, which was useful because I had never heard of them. Also the term “narcoterrorists� was explained which was helpful.

November 9, 2008

School in Haiti collapses

A school in Petionville, Haiti collapsed Friday, killing more than 30 students, and injuring many more.

According to the International Herald Tribune, “Neighbors suspected the building was poorly rebuilt after it partially collapsed eight years ago.� The Charlotte Observer reported the death toll as 75 on Friday as well.

Jinny Germain, a French teacher at College La Promesse said that many people left their homes well before, out of fear that the building would give away. She also revealed that the school’s owner then attempted to buy the families abandoned lots.

Around 500 students attended the College La Promesse, a kindergarten through high school institution; it is not clear whether all 500 students were in the school when it collapsed.

Many people suspected that recent rains were a major cause of the collapse; however, Mayor Claire Rudie Parent of Petionville told the International Herald Tribune that “she suspected a structural defect caused the collapse.� The Tribune reported that the “concrete building’s third story was still under construction� at the time.

Haitian President Rene Preval revealed to the Charlotte Observer that “a previous mayor of Petionville had tried to halt the expansion of La Promesse over safety concerns but the effort faltered when a new mayor came into power in the hillside suburb of the capital.�

She went on to plead for “consistency� between new and old administration. “The next time the mayor speaks and the authorities speak, people will listen,� Preval said.

Yphosiane Vil, a civil protection official told the Tribune that “More children were believed buried in the rubble of the concrete building, and the death toll was likely to go higher.�

I must have read almost 20 stories throughout the weekend as they were updated, death toll numbers increased (88 on Sunday), and new information became available. I have just now learned today (Sunday) that World News has reported that the owner of the school Fortin Augustin has been arrested and charged with voluntary manslaughter for the wreckage.

November 2, 2008

After rape, girl is killed by Islamists for committing adultery

Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow, a 13-year old Somali girl reported rape to authorities and was subsequently killed in the town of Kismayo.

According to CNN, “Dozens of men stoned Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow to death Oct. 27 in a stadium packed with 1,000 spectators in the southern port city of Kismayo, Amnesty International and Somali media reported, citing witnesses.�

AllAfrica reported that “this kind of punishment allowed under Islamic law and more commonly reported under the Islamic countries.�

In a statement to CNN, David Copeman, Amnesty International's Somalia campaigner said, “This child suffered a horrendous death at the behest of the armed opposition groups who currently control Kismayo.�

Reports have concluded Somalia as being one of the most destitute and violent countries in the world. CNN reported that “fighting is a daily occurrence, with violent deaths reported nearly every day.�

Troubling to me is the fact that allAfrica reported the 13-year-old girl as committing adultery; whereas CNN reported that she was raped. Obviously there is a difference in the legalities and morals of the two countries…but I was angered with certain parts of allAfrica’s report.

CNN’s article cited the female as a 13-year-old girl and allAfrica reported that the female was a 23-year-old woman. I checked with other sources, but I was still given conflicting ages. I later learned that the Somali journalists who first reported the story reported that she was 23 based her physical appearance. That makes me wonder how seriously ethics in journalism are taken in other countries compared to the United States.

October 26, 2008

Man kills wife over Facebook posting

On Feb. 18 Michael Forrester, 34 drove to the home of his estranged wife in a jealous rage and stabbed her to death with a knife and meat cleaver.

Several days after Forrester moved out of the family’s home, Emma modified her profile on the popular networking site to “single,� an action that “humiliated� and “devastated� Forrester.

Forrester was under the influence of drugs and alcohol when he murdered Emma, mother-of-two, as she slept in her Croydon, South London home.

BBC News reported that “[Forrester] beat her, tore out clumps of her hair, and repeatedly stabbed her in the head and neck.�

The Guardian reported that “neighbors who heard screaming called police, who found him sitting outside covered in blood, and he confessed to the killing.� "It is my wife’s. She is in there. I have killed her," he said.

After moving out, Forrester made phone calls to Emma’s parents complaining of his wife’s actions and even calling Emma threatening to kill her.

Despite being married for 15 years, the union became unstable recently.

According to the Guardian, Prosecutor Alex Lewis called the marriage “volatile� and that his wife was sometimes forced to hold two jobs, “to support herself and her husband who was often out of work.�

The Guardian reported that the “relationship deteriorated further over Christmas last year and her husband finally moved out on Valentine's Day.�

According to BBC News, “Forrester, who pleaded guilty to murder, was ordered to serve a minimum term of 14 years.�

The Guardian presents more descriptive details than BBC News, giving an actual account of the crime. Their story also provides detailed information on the marriage that the BBC News article does not contain.

Also, in The Guardian’s article, several key quotes from the suspect are included. Although the quotes are disturbing, they are useful in telling the story, and provide a context for the tale.

I found it interesting that although both articles presented almost the same information in different sections of the article, both pieces ended with the same kicker quote from the victim’s sister.

“What on earth could Emma have done to result in such a brutal, callous attack on a defenceless woman?"

October 19, 2008

Court hearings resume in case of murdered British student

Prosecutors accused 21-year-old Amanda Knox of murdering her British Housemate, Meredith Kercher, 21, in a Satanic rite in a closed-door court hearing on Saturday.

Breaking News reported that the “court in Perugia was told yesterday Knox’s Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 24 held Miss Kercher down as Rudy Hermann Guede tried to sexually assault her."

CNN reported that Luca Maori, lawyer for Sollecito said that Prosecutors described the scene as “Amanda allegedly first touching Meredith with the point of a knife, then slitting her throat, while Sollecito held her by the shoulders, from behind, Guede held her by an arm and tried to sexually penetrate her.�

Lawyers for Guede have requested a fast-track trial, which can sometimes result in a lighter sentencing. Guede has admitted to being in the bedroom where Kercher’s body was found in November 2007.

Knox, who asked to make her statement in English, declared her innocence and her lawyer Luciano Ghirga said that Knox was upset as she recounted "the pressure, the aggressiveness of the police who called her a liar,� according to Breaking News.

According to both reports, “Italian TV showed a brief, partial view of Knox as she addressed the court. Only her hands, busily gesticulating, could be seen. There was no audio.�

According to Breaking News, “A ruling on prosecutors’ request for their indictment is expected at the end of October.�

Both Knox and Sollecito have given conflicting statements to the court.

All three suspects have maintained their innocence throughout the trials.

Both articles, presented the reader with all of the relevant information regarding the case, however Breaking News devoted more details in the case. For instance, the article provided specifics on the conflicting statements between Knox and Sollecito.

Breaking News also provided important background information about the Italian Laws concerning this case, “Knox and Sollecito have been jailed as suspects since shortly after the killing. Under Italian law, they can be jailed for as long as a year during the investigation.�

October 12, 2008

Shooting rampage in Mexico leaves eleven dead

Attackers clothed as police officers opened fire in a bar in Chihuahua State, located in the northern part of Mexico.

Eduardo Esparza, a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office in Chihuahua State told MSNBC that “Shortly before midnight Thursday, unidentified assailants walked into the Rio Rosas bar in the northern city of Chihuahua and
began shooting indiscriminately.�

In a report by Yahoo News, an official from the state attorney’s office reported that among the eleven people killed, “four others were seriously wounded and under armed guard in [the] hospital.�

Security cameras near the bar have footage of the vans used in the attack. Police have begun a search for the vehicles.

MSNBC noted in its article that “Chihuahua State has seen hundreds of murders this year as the government attempts to crack down on warring drug cartels.�

Neither a motive nor suspects have been detained in the shooting.

Yahoo News provided more information and detail on the attack than MSNBC. MSNBC provide in its article that there were four people who were seriously injured.

Although the sources used in the Yahoo News account were anonymous, they provided important details concerning the story.

The articles provided a brief summarization of the crime issue in Chihuahua State, both citing the issue of rampant drug-related attacks.

I also noticed that Yahoo News cited Chihuahua as the most violent state in Mexico. I think this could be considered a subjective statement unless the article provides the statistics that prove it. I’ve read in elsewhere that other states such as Baja California are considered the most violent.

October 5, 2008

Hundreds dead after stampede in India

On Tuesday, as thousands of Indian pilgrims stood in line waiting for temple doors to begin the celebration of the Hindu Festival Navratra, a stampede occurred around dawn in Jodhpur.

Ramesh Vyas, a witness who was in line at the temple, told the Associated Press that the stampede occurred because of “false rumors of a bomb.�

The New York Times on the other hand, reported that “the official cause of the stampede was unclear,� but an anonymous source in their account said that “heated arguments took place,� and that people were in a rush before the stampede occurred.

The Associated Press explains that many people in India were already experiencing anxiety since the country had experienced recent bomb attacks. “Tensions are high because India has been hit by a spate of bomb attacks. The latest explosions Monday night in the western cities of Malegaon and Modasa killed six people and wounded 45.�

As the pilgrims rushed to escape the pandemonium, they slipped and fell due to the spilled coconut milk that is used as an offering by devoted religious followers. Also adding to the disarray was a power outage that also caused many of the pilgrims to slip and fall on the very narrow pathway leading to the temple.

Naresh Pal Gangwar, the district collector, told the Associated Press that “At least 168 people were killed in the stampede.� A report from the New York Times said that “Some unconfirmed Indian news accounts reported that the death toll exceeded 168.�

The Associated Press’ report said that officials reported 100 injuries. However, District Chief Civil Servant, Kiran Soni Gupta reported to the New York Times two of the 55 injuries were serious. She also reported to the New York Times that most of the deaths were men who seemed to have died from suffocation.

Dr. D. R. Mathur of Mahatma Gandhi hospital in Jodhpur told the New York Times that “None of the dead bodies have any injury marks. They all died of suffocation.�

The exact number of pilgrims in line is unsure because the Associated Press reports 12,000 pilgrims and the New York Times reports 2,000 to 3,000 pilgrims.

The Associated Press mentions this stampede as this year’s “third disaster� at a religious event in India. That story also gives a glimpse of the history between deadly stampedes and India, mentioning that stampedes are more likely to occur at temples in India where large amounts of people often gather in places that are too small to accommodate a large gathering.

Both stories mention the stampede that occurred last August where 145 people were killed and they also provide the reader with vivid accounts of the stampede through descriptive passages in the openings of their stories.

I found it interesting that the New York Times didn’t have a motive for the stampede in the article, yet the Associated Press did, through a witnesses account.

Also, as I did some research on the story days later, I noticed how much the death toll increased.

September 28, 2008

Mother and son die from cow disease in Spain

Months after a man died from mad cow disease, government officials confirmed Wednesday that his mother died from the same illness last month.

According to a report from CNN, the director of Spain's national research center for mad cow disease, Juan Jose Badiola said that, “It is believed to be the first case in the world where two members of the same family have died from mad cow disease.�

Channel NewsAsia reports that,� Scientists believe the disease was caused by using infected parts of cattle to make feed for other cattle.�

CNN also reported that officials said, “Spain has taken steps to avoid mad cow disease, and there is no danger from eating meat.�

CNN reports that, Badiola said that “It's likely the mother and son contracted the disease before stricter controls against mad cow disease began in 2001 in Spain.�

According to CNN, Spain’s health ministry said that safety measures were carried out “after the first cases of mad cow disease appeared in the United Kingdom, [including] isolating infected animals and prohibiting cattle feed of animal origin or with animal proteins

CNN reports that Badiola said that the mother and son ate similar parts of animals including kidneys, livers and possibly brains.

Badiola reported to CNN that “researchers will try to determine whether the mother and son shared a genetic structure that might have been more prone to contracting the illness.�

Names of both victims have not been released.

This is the first case of the disease since 2005 when a 26-year-old woman died near the city of Madrid.

According to Channel NewsAsia, “More than 200 people around the world are suspected to have died, most of them in Britain, from the human variant of the disease, which was first described in 1996.�

CNN’s account of the story provides the reader with more background information than Channel NewsAsia’s story. CNN provides information on other mad cow disease cases not just in Spain, but worldwide. The story also gives information about the two victims which readers might find useful. Although Channel NewsAsia devoted less coverage to the story, they gave the official name for Mad Cow Disease, something that I didn’t know and wanted to find out.

September 21, 2008

Mbeki Ousted as South Africa's President

Following a years-long battle between current President Thabo Mbeki and politician Jacob Zuma, Mbeki was forced to resign after Zuma was cleared of corruption charges.

Zuma, the current president of the African National Congress, defeated Mbeki in the Presidential race in December 2007 only to be served an indictment later that month on various corruption charges.

While addressing the nation, Mbeki’s speech reflected on the good and bad during his term while choosing not to place the blame of his dilemma on any one.

According to the Pioneer Press, a judge declared Zuma the victim of a scheme by the political party to sabotage his chances of becoming South Africa’s next president.

Yahoo News also reported specifically that prosecutors in the Zuma case were politically pressured by the Mbeki administration to damage Zuma’s campaign.

In the Los Angeles Times coverage of the story, Mbeki is quoted as saying, “I would like to state this categorically that we have never done this and therefore never compromised the right of the National Prosecuting Authority to decide whom it intended to prosecute or not prosecute, this applies equally to the painful matter relating to the court proceedings against the president of the ANC, Comrade Jacob Zuma."

With the sudden departure of Mbeki, South Africa’s future is clouded with doubt and instability.

Although the South African Parliament is scheduled to vote on an interim president, it is widely believed that African National Congress Chairwoman Baleka Mbete will take the reins.

With the ANC as the majority, it is expected that Zuma will become president after elections take place.

September 14, 2008

Milk Powder Contamination in China Sickens 432 Infants

Officials in China are amid an investigation concerning the overwhelming number of ill babies due to contaminated milk powder.

The source of contamination is melamine, a chemical that farmers and milk dealers use to water down the milk and then sell to the Sanlu Group, a company that produces milk powder.

According to Reuters, “Farmers or dealers supplying milk to Sanlu may have diluted it with water and then added melamine, a substance used in plastics, fertilizers and cleaning products, to make the milk's protein level appear higher than it actually was.�

Gao Qiang, health minister in China told Channel NewsAsisa, “As of September 12, there are 432 cases of kidney stones in the urinary systems of infants according to reports from health departments nationwide.�

Reuters reports that authorities in the province of Hebei have ordered the discontinuation of the milk powder products that were made before the date of August 6. On the other hand, Yahoo News reports that Minister Gao said that Sanlu had already started recalling the product beginning in March this year.

It should be noted that after the Sanlu Group began receiving complaint from customers about urine discoloration in their infants, they decided to withhold the information and not report it to the government.

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