February 24, 2008

Greyhound Bus Flips Over, Injuring 41 People

This is en example of a spot and follow story. The bus flipped over early Sunday morning (about 4 a.m.) and the story was published at 3:15 p.m. Sunday afternoon. The story is organized like an inverted pyramid - with the most important information at the top and the less important details toward the bottom. The story uses very compact, to the point reporting techniques and avoids wordy explanations. The first block gives a generalized description of what happened, the second adds more specific information on the people who were injured in the accident, and the third gives detailed descriptions of speeds, directions, etc. The final block is information about the route of the bus and its destination - far less important information than what appeared in the preceeding blocks.

Raul Castro is Cuba's New President

Raul Castro, brother of Cuba's former president, Fidel Castro, became the country's new president Sunday after an election. Raul, 76, was Cuba's former defense minister while his brother was in power, and political experts say it is not surprising that he was elected as president. The election is strictly Communist - there are no other political parties allowed in the country. Also, Raul is said to have been in control of many of the lucrative operations of the country, and because of this, it was no surprise to Cuban political analysts that he won the election.

February 19, 2008

Radiator Falls from School Ceiling, Injuring 5

A radiator fell from the ceiling at a Chaska school, leaving 5 people injured last Friday. The 400 lb. heater bounced off pipes in the ceiling before falling into a classroom, breaking the leg of a kindergarten student, and inflicting minor injuries on four other students and staff members of Guardian Angels Catholic School. Classes were cancelled for preschoolers, while kindergarteners were moved across the street to continue school. Classes will not be held in the basement of the school until the building's safety has been confirmed, according to the school's prncipal, Nancy Ronhovde.

February 18, 2008

Bomb in Mexico Kills One and Injures Two

A bomb was detonated Friday in Mexico City, leaving one man dead and two more badly burned. Police believe the man killed was attempting to pick up the packaged bomb when it detonated as he got near it. Javier Alonzo González, 28, and Tania Vázquez, 22, were both near the bomb when it exploded. González suffered light injuries and Vázquez was badly burned.
Police haven taken several suspects identified as gunmen for a Mexican drug cartel into custody on suspicion of being involved in the bombing.

February 13, 2008

Boston Murder-Suicide

A man wanted for murder of his ex-wife was found hanged at a North Carolina rest stop Monday. Andrew Boisvert, 37, was found hanged at a rest stop in Statesville, N.C. Monday by a worker there. The cause of death is believed to be suicide. Police believe Boisvert was responsible for the death of his ex-wife, Margaret Ninos, 47, who died last Wednesday due to blunt trauma to the head, according to police. Boisvert had already fled when a warrant was issued for his arrest the next day Boisvert and Ninos had a 7-year-old-daughter together named Maggie, who is now in protective custody.

February 11, 2008

Artwork Heist in Zurich

Three armed thieves stole four valuable paintings from a private collection house in Zurich on Sunday. The paintings stolen include works by Van Gogh, Monet, Cezanne, and Degas. Their estimated worth is around $163 million and head of the police investigation, Peter Rüegger, said it is the largest art heist in the history of Switzerland, and possibly all of Europe.

There have been other art robberies in the recent past (one only two weeks ago), but police do not think any are related.

February 7, 2008

FBI to Expand Biometrics Database

The FBI wants to start databasing more and different types of biometrics, including eyes, scars, tattoos, and palm prints.

A $1 billion will be awarded to the Bureau in order to start the new biometrics database. The first biometric that will be gathered will be palm prints. Countries that already use this type of print have proven it to be a very effective tool in crime solving.

Those who advocate the new database claim that taking inventory of people's biometrics (other than fingerprints) will create more opportunities to punish criminals and identify terrorists. They believe that
the new database will increase the number of criminals who are caught and be an effective way to seek out terrorists.

People opposed to the idea of filing so many personal identifiers claim that this movement is the beginning of a totalitarian-like government. They believe it is a slippery slope and will lead to constant surveillance. These people are deeply concerned about their privacy and civil liberties.

February 6, 2008

Confusing Attribution

A news article previously cited in this blog, regarding the outbreak of a neurological disease at a Minn. meatpacking plant, uses attribution effectively in some situations, but not in others.

The article uses quotes from and attributes facts to several individuals throughout the article. The author uses quotes from employees of the meatpacking plant, epidemiologists, and quite a few medical doctors and neurologists.

Many of the quotes are very effective at getting across main ideas about the event that took place in the article. For instance, on page 2, "'It’s something no one would have anticipated or thought about,'" from Dr. Osterholm is a well-used quote because it gets across an opinion about the nature of the event, helps generate interest in the story, and allows for some voice that the author of the article would not be able to provide on their own.

However there seemed to be too many medical doctors, epidemiologists, neurologists and experts in the article to keep track of them all. There were five professionals quoted in the article and i found myself getting confused toward the end of the article. Specifically, somewhere toward the beginning of the article, Dr. Ruth Lynfield was introduced and referenced throughout the entire story. Then, toward the middle of the article Dr. Ian Lipkin was introduced. At the end of the article, Dr. Lynfield was referenced once again. With these two names both beginning with "Dr. L..." it required going back to previous pages to try to get the two doctors straightened out in order to know who the final reference was about.

Perhaps it was just a matter of circumstance. The article probably did require many opinions from different professional fields. Perhaps it was the simple fact that the two most heavily cited doctors had somewhat similar names. In any event, the attribution in this article seemed rather daunting. It required several glances at previously read material and became confusing.

Disease Linked to Minnesota Meatpacking Plant

An unknown neurological disease has been repeatedly attacking employees of a meatpacking plant in Austin, Minn. So far, 12 employees of Quality Pork Processors have been diagnosed with this unexplained neurological disorder. Several of these employees received medical attention last fall, complaining about fatigue, numbness, and pain throughout their extremities. These people were treated for their symptoms, and after recovery, returned to work at the plant.

But when the same people returned to the Mayo Clinic - only 40 miles away - doctors found a much more serious issue than previously diagnosed. These peoples' immune systems were essentially destroying their nervous systems - and doctors don't exactly know why. Some medical specialists believe the disease is linked to the brain tissue of hogs that are slaughtered in the meatpacking plant. These professionals think the body is rejecting the ingestion of the hogs' brain particles. Basically, the affected peoples' immune system is rejecting the ingestion of the hog brains, and since pigs' biochemical composition is closely related to humans, people's immune systems are rejecting their own nervous system as well.

Doctors at the Mayo Clinic are unsure of the exact cause of the disease, but they are working hard on getting to the bottom of this bizarre illness.

February 4, 2008

Israeli City Attacked by Suicide Bombers

Two suicide bombers attacked a shopping center in Dimona, Israel on Monday, leaving one woman dead and 11 others injured. While one assailant succeeded in detonating his bomb, the second bomber was neutralized by an Israeli police officer while attempting to trigger his bomb, according to an Israeli police. officer who responded to the incident. This is the first suicide bombing Israel has seen since January of 2007.
The bombers apparently entered Israel via Egypt, after security at a Gaza-Egypt border crossing was breached several weeks ago. The crossing has been secured, but Israeli defense officials are concerned that more terrorists have entered Israel bearing firearms and bombs. Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade, a militant Palestinian group, claimed responsibility for the attack and said it had been planned for several months.