September 2012 Archives

In the article about President Obama's speech at the United Nations General Assembly speech by the BBC Times, the story takes on a martini glass structure.

The reporter leads off the story with Obama's plan for global leaders to act against extremism and violence. To follow this lead, the reporter expands upon the specifics of his speech. If the reader just wanted to know Obama's main views at the General Assembly, they could stop at this point.

The article goes on to talk in detail about Iran and Syria, two big topics at the assembly. These topics are sorted together and this makes the article readable and organized. After the detailed reports on Syria and Iran, the story highlights other points that other big leaders mentioned at the General Assembly. While this part increases the range of topics covered in the article and adds more depth to the story, it can be easily cut from the article to make it shorter. The article ends with Obama's differences with Mitt Romney concerning foreign affairs.

This story structure works well for the story. It starts with the facts, covers the background information on topics and then uses a chronological structure to further elaborate on the event. The story ends with a slightly different topic that works as a kicker. This structure is effective because the readers get the facts at the beginning and can stop reading if they want to. If they want more information, however, they can continue and the story adds depth.

Minneapolis man fatally shot five people after getting fired

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A Minneapolis man walked into a sign-making business Thursday afternoon and fatally shot the owner and four other workers before killing himself, the Los Angeles Times said.

Five people were killed, including the owner of the business, and three others were injured, the Star Tribune said. Victims include Reuven Rahahim, Keith Basinski, Rami Cooks, Robald Edberg and Jacob Beneke, the Star Tribune said.

Andrew Engeldinger, 36, lost his job at the Accent Signage Systems factory in Minneapolis earlier on Thursday after working there for 12 years, the Star Tribune said. At 4:25 p.m., he walked into the company and started shooting people, the Los Angeles Times said.

Police searched his house and found another gun and packaging for 10,000 rounds of ammunition, the Los Angeles Times said.

"He's obviously been practicing in how to use that gun," Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan said, the Los Angeles Times said.

Engeldinger's family had begun worrying about his mental state two years ago and had tried to find a treatment, the Star Tribune said. But his family had not gotten contact with him for about the past 21 months, the Star Tribune said.

After receiving a call about a car crash and a man with a gun on Thursday, St. Paul police went to the area and ordered the people down, only to find out that they were filming a low budget movie, the Star Tribune said.

The four people making the scene were arrested for aggravated assault because it threated the neighborhood residents, the Pioneer Press said.

Police Sgt. Paul Paulos said that the people did not have a permit for the movie and did not inform anyone of the morning shoot, the Pioneer Press said.

"It did create a lot of fear in the neighborhood," Paulos said to the Star Tribune.

The police found a BB gun, an airsoft gun and a replica gun at the scene, but none of them had the orange markings found on toy guns, the Star Tribune said.

The filmmakers were released on Friday after police questioning, the Pioneer Press said.

The Federal Trade Commission banned U.S. computer rental companies on Tuesday from using a program to invade their customers' privacy by taking private information and photographs, Los Angeles Times said.

The program PC Rental Agent contained a feature called Detective Mode that allowed companies to obtain personal information from the customers and take photos without their consent, BBC News said.

The FTC's complaint stated that the webcam captured images of children and couples engaging in sexual activities, Los Angeles Times said.

Detective Mode activated when the customer was late in returning the computer or failed to pay and would obtain personal information in order to track the customer for payment or return, BBC News said.

Graham Cluley from a computer security firm Sophos warned people to be careful of machines you do not own, as you do not know what the software could be doing, BBC News said.

"If you are entering an agreement to rent a computer, read the small print," said Cluley, "and maybe think twice about doing anything too personal on them."

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged members assembled at the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday for international action to end the war in Syria, the Huffington Post said.

The 18-month conflict in Syria has become "a regional calamity with global ramifications," said Ban, the Huffington Post said.

U.S. President Barack Obama was also present at the General Assembly and called out that it was a duty of world leaders to speak out against violence and extremism, BBC News said. Obama also called for the end of Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime, BBC News said.

Three resolutions to pressure the Syrian President Bashar Assad to end the violence have been vetoed by Russia and China, making the Security Council unable to act, the Huffington Post said.

"The international community should not look the other way as violence spirals out of control," said Ban to the divided U.N. Security Council, BBC News said.

"There is no military solution to the Syrian crisis," said Brazil's President Dimla Rousseff, the Huffington Post said. "Diplomacy and dialogue are not just our best option: they are the only option."

China shows off defense with new aircraft carrier

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China enters their first aircraft carrier into service on Tuesday with a ceremony attended by government officials at Beijing, the NY Times said.

The 990-feet aircraft carrier named Liaoning was a former Soviet ship purchased from Ukraine and refurbished in China, BBC News said.

The ship would be "a cause for patriotic passion," said China's Premier Wen Jiabao, said BBC News. This would display China's growing military as tensions increase between China and its neighbors, the NY Times said.

China does not yet have aircraft or pilots for aircraft carriers, said BBC News. Lioning will be used for research so China can build "a more advanced aircraft carrier platform in the future," said Admiral Yang Yi, BBC News said.

Some experts, such as researcher at the National University of Singapore You Ji, have expressed skepticism over the carrier and its practicability, the NY Times said.

"The fact is the aircraft carrier is useless for the Chinese Navy," said Ji to the NY Times. "If it used against America, it has no survivability. If it used against China's neighbors, it's a sign of bullying."

The story on the Minnesota wolf hunt by the Star Tribune uses a variety of sources to effectively show both sides of the story.

The article discusses the effort by two wildlife groups to stop the Minnesota wolf hunt from reopening. To represent both sides of the issue, the reporter attributes many sources. While the reporter has quotes coming from a Department of Natural Resources representative Tom Landwehr, she also uses quotes from Collette Giese, an attorney of one of the wildlife groups.

She also uses people who are not directly involved but have interest in the issue. She attributes quotes to co-founder of the International Wolf Center Nancy Gibson and the director of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association Mark Johnson. While these people are not directly involved in the decision, the reporter includes them to provide additional insight to the story.

The reporter also includes information from records, such as the DNR plan and survey and the wildlife groups' petition.

These sources are placed throughout the article. By continually attributing her information, the reporter shows credibility to her article. The reporter names and states the titles of her sources. By including a variety of sources and attributing them correctly, the reporter effectively uses attribution well to create a credible story that highlights both sides of the issue.

Violent protest crowds swarmed large cities in Pakistan on Friday in response to the anti-Islamic film, leaving up to 19 people dead and more than 160 injured, NY Times said.

After the release of the anti-Islamic film Innocence of Muslims, there has been widespread unrest in numerous countries, BBC News said. Friday, however, displayed the most violence since protests began two weeks ago in Egypt, NY Times said.

The Pakistani government declared Friday as a holiday, Day of Protest and "day of love," BBC News said. In order to try to reduce the violence, the government shut down phone service in major cities and sent military troops, the San Francisco Chronicle said.

Yet protesters charged the U.S. diplomatic buildings in major cities that led to violence, BBC News said. Violence began at Penshawar then moved to armed protests at Karachi, NY Times said.

Prime Minister Najib Razak urged people to avoid violence in a statement on Thursday, the San Francisco Chronicle said.

"I urge Muslims to remain peaceful," Razak said, "not resort to violence as a means of showing dissatisfaction."

The U.S. life expectancy in the less educated whites is declining according to a report on Friday, the Examiner said.

While the average person in the U.S. lives to age 78, the report shows that the least educated whites are living four years less than the average, the Examiner said. White women who did not receive a high school diploma lost five years of life, the NY Times said.

"It's very puzzling," said Harvard professor David Cuter, "we don't have a great explanation."

Fellow Harvard professor Jennifer Montez said that smoking could be a big factor in the decreasing life expectancy of women, NY Times said. Smoking rates among women have increased, especially among those without a high school diploma, Montez said.

Many of the least educated whites do not have access to health care, said NY Times. While 35 percent of working-age adults without a high school diploma did not have health care in 1993, now 43 percent of working-age adults without a high school diploma are left without health care, NY Times said.

John G. Haaga, head of the Population and Social Processes Branch of the National Institute on Aging, has expressed concerned about these results.

"We're used to looking at groups and complaining that their mortality rates haven't improved fast enough," said Haaga, "but to actually go backward is deeply troubling."

St. Agnes Catholic School in St. Paul set to receive award

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After almost closing down five years ago due to shrinking enrollment, St. Agnes Catholic School is scheduled to receive a major AP national award on Thursday, said CBS Minnesota.

Five years ago, the school suffered millions of dollars in debt and faced shrinking enrollment, said CBS Minnesota. After 120 years of operation, the school sent a letter to parents informing them of a possible closure, Pioneer Press said.

"It was a scary announcement that shocked everyone," said parent Diana Most, "at that moment everyone pulled together."

In five years, the school increased enrollment by 25 percent and brought in over $2 million, CBS Minnesota said. The administrators focused on strong academics and increased their AP classes from four to 14, CBS Minnesota said.

In recognition of their academic success, the Cardinal Newman Society ranked the school on a 50-school Honor Roll list, said Pioneer Press.

The UK Parliament committee urged companies on Thursday to stop oil drilling in the Arctic until safety procedures are improved, BBC News said.

There are no procedures currently to clean up an oil spill and the report by the Environmental Audit Committee, made up of UK Members of Parliament, called to stop drilling until response standards are put into place, said Reuters.

Joan Walley, chairwoman of the committee, expressed concern on the arctic drilling and its potential effect on the wilderness, said Reuters.

"We are witnessing a reckless gold rush in this pristine wilderness," said Walley, "as big companies and governments make a grab for the world's last untapped oil and gas reserves."

An oil spill would be "very, very difficult to get rid of," according to Arctic ice expert and professor Peter Wadhams, said BBC News.

The Arctic sea ice has also reached its lowest level, said Reuters, and this decline could be accelerated by pollution from the gas and oil industries.
Shell and BP have currently suspended their drilling projects, said Reuters.

Wildlife groups sue to stop Minnesota wolf hunting

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Filing a lawsuit on Tuesday to stop the opening of Minnesota's wolf hunting season, two wildlife groups argued that the public did not have enough time to comment on this issue.

"The state rushed to issue wolf hunting and trapping rules without giving people a real chance to voice their opinions," said attorney Collette Giese to the Star Tribune.

After the wolves came off the endangered list in Minnesota in January, the Department of Natural Resources posted a month long online survey to the public, the Pioneer Press said. Yet, this action did not meet the standard procedures of public hearings and a public comment period, the Star Tribune reported.

The DNS plans to open up the wolf-hunting season on Nov. 3 and issue 6,000 licenses for wolf hunting, the Pioneer Press reports. The DNR has said that their primary goal is to "ensure the long-term survival of the wolf," said the Pioneer Press. State officials have also said that the wolf population is "healthy enough to withstand the loss up to 400 animals," the Star Tribune said.

Analysis: News lead in story about New York City's soda ban

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An effective lead explains the who, what, where, and when in the first sentence of the story and in the story about New York City's soda ban in the Chicago Tribune, these key elements are present.

By starting the lead with New York City, the reporter emphasizes the where of the story. This is effective in this case, as where the ban is taking place is a vital point to understanding the news.

The lead then specifically mentions the New York City Board of Health, which informs readers that the story concerns changing the healthy habits of the people of the city.

The ending of the lead then explains what the ban concerns and how it would affect businesses. By including specific details on where the ban would take place, the lead effectively lets the readers know how they would be affected once this ban takes place.

The reporter wrote the lead in a traditional hard-news format. This format makes sense because the story was new and the ban had taken place that morning.

A college student living in St. Paul became a YouTube sensation when he uploaded a video of his 40,000-piece K'NEX structure on Thursday.

Austin Granger, 21 years old, spent eight months creating his creation called Clockwork that had 450 feet of track, said the International Digital Times. Completely computer-controlled, this contraption used eight motors and five lifts.

After uploading his video, Granger gained more than 230,000 views in just a day and half, said the Pioneer Press. Furthermore, he earned over $600 in advertising from YouTube in just two days.

While the K'NEX parts for this project would of cost over $5,000 if he bought the pieces new, he was able to obtain many donations from families who no longer wanted the toy, the Pioneer Press said. His numerous K'NEX contraptions gained attention from the St. Anthony Park neighborhood he lives in and around 100 people visited his room at an open house he hosted.

According to the International Digital Times, Granger plans to add magnets to the track of his contraption, which could add colors or patterns. In the future, Granger guesses that he will work in the computer science field but his dream job would be to create big K'NEX installations, the Pioneer Press said.

When the Pioneer Press interviewed him, he said "it's mainly a form of creative expression," and that he has always "had a love of building things."

The University of Minnesota has appealed for an 8.4 percent increase in biennial funding from the State Legislature on Friday, which they could use to freeze tuition for resident undergraduates.

This request asks for $1.1 billion from the legislature and if the university meets three of their five improvement goals, the university plans to ask for an additional $11.5 million on the second year, said the Pioneer Press.

University President Eric Kaler's proposal plans to cut administrative spending by $28 million and $18 million of the fund would fund further research at the university, said the Star Tribune. Research areas include robotics and advanced manufacturing, global food supply, industry and environment, and treatment for brain conditions.

The plan asks for $14.2 million each year specifically to freeze the tuition for undergraduate students, who currently pay around $13,500 a year, according to the Pioneer Press. The Star Tribune reports that with the freeze on tuition, an undergraduate student could save $2,565 over four years said Richard Pfutzenreuter, the university's chief financial officer.

Rep. Bud Nornes has called the plan "bold," and while he supports the plan, he knows that the state will most likely encounter budget shortages, said the Star Tribune.

The university Board of Regents will vote on this proposal in October and then send it to the state, said the Pioneer Press.

Scientists identify genes for face shape

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Researchers discovered five genes in the human DNA that identify face shape and published their study on Thursday, which could lead to vast improvements in forensics.

Led by the International Visible Trait Genetics Consortium, this study was published in the PLOS Genetics journal on Thursday. The researchers scanned over 5,000 heads, created three-dimensional maps of the face features, and then analyzed genes with common face features, said LiveScience. This method successfully found five genes relating to face shapes.

With the discovery of these genes, lead author Manfred Kayser said "perhaps some time it will be possible to draw a phantom portrait of a person solely from his or her DNA left behind," according to BBC News.

Paired together with recent findings on using DNA to predict hair and eye color featured on BBC News, this discovery could strengthen forensics and could become powerful tools in identifying people just from their DNA.

According to LiveScience, the VisiGen team now plans to work with more researchers, expand their sample size and sample more points of the face. As Kayser said, "we are rather at the beginning, where it is not quite clear if this forensic tool can be used with accuracy," researchers are now working to find more genes that will help support this study.

New York City's Board of Health approved a ban on sodas and sugary beverages over 16-ounces on Thursday.

Eight members of the board voted yes while one member did not vote, said the Chicago Tribune. This ban applies to all sodas and sugary beverages over 16-ounces in restaurants and movie theaters but not in grocery and convenience stores, said the BBC News.

With this ban, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg hopes to reduce obesity and decrease the resulting health problems. While the majority of board members and Mayor Bloomberg support the ban, a poll by the New York Times showed that 60 percent of New Yorkers backed against it.

A spokeswoman for the group New Yorkers for Beverage Choices told the Chicago Tribune that they will fight for the right of New Yorkers to make their own decisions on their diets.

In an attack launched against the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi on Tuesday night, Ambassador J Christopher Stevens died of smoke inhalation, said the BBC News

Militants engaged in a firefight along with hand-made bombs that set the consulate on fire, killing three other Americans and up to ten Libyans. The attack happened at 10 p.m. local time and the assailants quickly gained entrance onto the consulate grounds, according to the New York Times.

Although investigators are not sure if the attack was planned, the attack took place after many rallies against the film, "Innocence of Muslims." According to the New York Times, this American-made video showed negative views on the Islamic Prophet Muhammad and caused many protests in Egypt as well. 

In response to the attack, President Obama condemned the attack on Wednesday morning and reassured people that "justice will be done," according to BBC News. To bolster security, the US has sent a marine anti-terrorism team and two navy destroyers.

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