April 2010 Archives

Murals in Washington, DC painted in rundown areas

Teenagers in Washington, DC, are now using the idea of graffiti to turn the city's rundown areas into art, according to a BBC news broadcast.

The video opens with scenes painted on buildings--intricate and artistic scenes that are described with even more adjectives by the reporter as hip-hop music plays in the background. The reporter then describes how the publicly funded mural program is targeting hit-and-run graffiti artists to show them what else can be done with aerosol paint. She talks to one teen who taught children how to paint with aerosol cans over the summer.

She then mentions the murals can be used not only for artistic and aesthetic purposes but also to preserve history. She talks to an African-American hip-hop DJ who says the murals paint a literal picture of the history of the city. He says the murals are a tribute to the city and also to the individuals it pays homage to, like Benjamin Banneker, Langston Hughes, and more.

The reporter says there are murals in about 20 different locations throughout the city, deliberately placed where there is a lot of illegal graffiti.

The video footage ends with the same hip-hop song playing and the scenery of the murals, which helps to tie the story together and let the viewer know it has ended.

Fire leaves thousands homeless in shantytown

BBC news reports on a fire that spread through a shanty town outside the Filipino capital Manila.

The broadcast opens with the reporter giving scene details as viewers watch the video footage of the houses in flames. BBC says the fire destroyed hundreds of house and may have made as many as 7,000 people homeless.

There is a lot of video footage of the fire and the smoke as well as scenes of people fleeing. The reporter does not immediately mention the location of the fire, probably because it was mentioned in the "lead" that the anchor gave before the reporter's voiceover came on.

There are two quotes in the middle of the footage from people who were living in the shantytown when the fire happened. The voiceover of a translator lets the audience know what the people are saying. The witnesses - two women - say there was black smoke everywhere and children were running around screaming "fire." They said they weren't able to save anything from the flames.

The regional director of the fire department, who isn't named in the footage, says the strong winds made the fire spread even more quickly.

Now, BBC says many people have been moved to temporary accommodations as they wonder what to do next.

Arizona's new illegal immigration law

Arizona's governor Jan Brewer signed a bill into law Friday regarding illegal immigration, despite criticism from both the president and a crowd of protesters. WCCO reports on the event.

An article on their website says hundreds of people gathered to protest the illegal immigration bill, which now allows police to question anyone who they think is in the United States illegally. The protesters say the new law violates civil rights that Latino-American citizens are supposed to have. In the video footage, the crowd is shown gathered close to one another.

The law also will allow lawsuits against government agencies who won't or don't enforce these immigration laws and will make it illegal to hire illegal immigrants for labor or to knowingly transport them.

There are surprisingly more quotes in the article than in the video footage. Most of the video is Don Shelby talking about what the law will mean for Arizona, being that it has the most problems with illegal immigration in the southern U.S. He says the law will definitely make a trip to the White House (to make sure it's legal and doesn't violate any American citizen rights).

The article also mentions what younger kids think about the bill by including a quote from a 13-year-old American citizen who says it's going to change everyone's life in Arizona now because they won't be able to walk to school anymore or play in the streets without the police thinking they are illegal immigrants.

University student attacked after Twins game

A University of Minnesota student and her friend were attacked on the Hennepin County Bridge as they walked home from a Twins game. Neither Kelly nor her friend Dave gave their last names, but they are featured in a video in WCCO's video library. They relive the event as it happened on the bridge.

Kelly explains they punched Dave first and then her as she stood there watching in shock. The three attackers then stole Kelly's purse and later threw it in the river. In both the video footage and the news article, Kelly says her checkbook and a DVD she had with her were lying on the pavement after the attack and her purse was located in the river later. The reporter mentions Kelly's only valuable item in the purse was a flash drive with a final project for school on it.

In both the video and the article, there are a lot of quotes from Kelly. She says she was hurt emotionally and physically, which can be seen from the bruises on her face and her distraught tone. She says she posted an angry letter on Craig's list in hopes that her attackers, none of whom Kelly or Dave could identify, might see it and not hurt others again.

Possibility of new trial for St. Paul Toyota driver

WCCO posted a video in their video library broadcasting the story of a St. Paul man whose Toyota Camry killed three people in a car accident in 2006.

The crash occurred off Snelling Avenue in St. Paul. Koua Fong Lee was convicted by a jury a year later of criminal vehicular homicide.

Now, Lee's lawyers are arguing that sticky accelerators in his 1996 Toyota may have been at fault for the crash. Toyota has recalled other models for that problem, but the 1996 model wasn't part of the recall. His attorneys are also arguing about the brakes and the cruise control. An inspection of the vehicle is underway because other Toyota drivers have complained about similar problems. However, WCCO said they were not able to get their cameras inside the inspection.

Lee's attorneys want him out of jail, but county attorneys say it isn't that easy because there was previously a lot of investigation and analysis and Lee was still fairly convicted of killing those people.

WCCO reported that it could be several weeks before the results of the inspection are in, and then it could be an additional 15 days before a decision about a new trial is made.

Tom Petters sentenced

Tom Petters was sentenced to 50 years in prison on Thursday, April 8, after being convicted of 20 counts of wire fraud, mail fraud, money laundering and conspiracy.

His $3.7 billion scheme included hedge funds, pastors, missionaries and retirees among its victims, the Star Tribune reported. They said that Petters apologized to those who were hurt by his actions, but he didn't admit guilt. He claimed he didn't know about the fraud within his operations at Petters Group Worldwide, but U.S. District Judge Richard Kyle said he didn't believe that statement.

The defense said four years of prison time would suffice as punishment for Petters, but Kyle said the longer sentence was necessary, the Star Tribune reported. However, he did not grant the maximum of 335 years, as prosecutors had argued, because 50 years was basically a life sentence anyway for 52-year-old Petters-- he would be 93 before he could go free, if he got time taken off for the 18 months he's already served and/or for good behavior.

According to the article, Judge Kyle said he would recommend that Petters be allowed to serve his time in Minnesota, which would let him be closer to his family, including his two young sons, but ultimately the decision will be up to the Bureau of Prisons.

The defense said Thursday in court that Petters is innocent and they plan to appeal.

According to the Pioneer Press, on Tuesday, April 13, Petters filed that appeal. However, the article said the corporate insurance policy that has paid for Petters' defense up until now won't cover the appeal, so Petters asked that the court appoint an attorney for him because he's out of money; he asked they appoint Eric Riensche, who has been a part of the defense team throughout the trial, the Pioneer Press said.

Nurse fired after stopping CPR

According to a Minnesota Department of Health investigation, a nurse manager at a Woodbury nursing home stopped CPR for a resident before emergency assistance arrived, violating protocol, said the Pioneer Press.

According the the investigative report, The Woodbury Health Care Center resident's medical record called for full life-saving efforts; the resident suffered from late-stage breast cancer and respiratory problems. However, on December 10, 2009, the nurse manager told a caregiver to stop CPR after the resident went limp. The caregiver continued anyway, but the manager then raised her voice and told him to stop.

According the Pioneer Press, the state investigation said the nurse acted outside her scope of duties when she not only prematurely halted CPR but also declared the resident's death before a higher authority. They said the care center trains its staff on American Heart Association guidelines for CPR and no sanctions were issued against them.

The nurse manager claimed she didn't know she wasn't supposed to stop CPR, the Pioneer Press said. However, several other workers understood the correct CPR protocol, according to a state investigator, which is to continue CPR unless they are too tired, someone else arrives to take over, or a physician declares a patient's death. The nurse manager was then fired; she had had been disciplined twice before for her behavior and once before for not following wound management protocols.

The care center did say this incident does not reflect their usual level of quality and care by their "devoted" staff, the Pioneer Press said.

Priests investigated after being accused of sexual abuse

The Star Tribune published an investigative report by the Associated Press detailing cases of Roman Catholic priests accused of abuse. The investigation spans 21 countries across six continents and includes 30 cases.

Rev. Denis Vadeboncoeur, 69, served 20 months in a Quebec prison after pleading guilty to sexual abuse of four teenage boys, AP reported. Then, in 2005, he was convicted of raping an adolescent boy and is currently serving a 12-year sentence in a French prison. The bishop at the time, Jacques Gaillot, said giving Vadeboncoeur a second chance was a mistake.

Rev. Francois Lefort, a French priest and humanitarian doctor, was convicted in 2005 in France of raping six minors in Senegal in the mid-90s. AP noted that Catholic authorities did not restrict him from working with minors while the allegations were still pending; French observers say that procedure was standard at that time, but it has changed in the past few years.

Rev. Patrick Maguire wanted to become a priest to deal with his impulses, AP said. Since priests don't have sex, his attraction to either sex wouldn't be important, a report by an Irish commission said. AP reported Maguire first worked in Japan but was sent to Ireland after complaints about his inappropriate behavior with the young males. In the mid-70s, Maguire worked in the northwestern Ireland Raphoe diocese. Here, he had altar boys stay with him overnight, AP said, so he was sent for treatment in England, where he was diagnosed as a pederast, a man who sodomizes boys. After more complaints after treatment, he returned to the facility. Currently, AP said he is living in a Columban residence northwest of Dublin where his behavior is monitored.

These are just a few of the cases described in the Associated Press's article. Details surrounding the cases include the priests having been accused of rape, sodomy, or some other kind of sexual abuse. Both young girls and boys have been affected, as well as older women and men (some married) and even those with mental illnesses. This investigation clearly took a long time to construct and shows diligent information gathering and synthesizing.

Britain investigates errors in organ donation

Britain's National Health Service Blood and Transplant organization announced Saturday that it was investigating errors in its organ donor list--several thousand errors--that go back about a decade, the Star Tribune said. They reported the donor list of about 14 million poeple has been affected by technical errors since 1999, and some people may have had organs removed without proper consent as a result.

For example, some people who wanted to donate their lungs or skin were incorrectly identified as people who wanted to donate their corneas or heart, the Star Tribune said. An official at the National Health Service said everyone on the register was a willing donor of some kind. She said no data has been lost, the problem has been contained and families have not yet been contacted since the investigation is ongoing.

About 800,000 people have been affected by the mix-up, the Sunday Telegraph newspaper reported. They said 45 of those people have since died and donated organs, and just under half of those are thought to have made incorrect donations.

Every Briton is considered a non-donor unless they register as one or their family decides to donate their organs after death, the Star Tribune said. They also said the British government has been trying to increase Britain's rate of organ donation, which is one of the lowest in Europe, and has spent a lot of money on an awareness compaign.

Also, other technological mishaps have happened in the country in the past few years, the Star Tribune reported, including misplaced data on 3 million driving test candidates, 600,000 army applicants, and 5,000 prison officers. In 2007, computer disks carrying bank records and other information on nearly half of Britain's population were lost. These mix-ups and losses have raised concern over whether or not the government can handle their citizens' information.

Joyce Robins, the co-director of patient watchdog group Patient Concern, told the Star Tribune these mishaps happen too often, and even though they are being told their data is safe, it's "rubbish" because the same things keep repeating themselves.

On Tuesday, the Iraqi Journalists' Union called on the Iraqi government to investigate the killing of two Reuters employees by U.S. Apache helicopters, the Star Tribune said. They reported that the incident, which happened on July 12, 2007, has been reported before, but it was not until video footage of it was released by a Web site that anger over civilian killing at the height of the war was reignited.

The video was posted Monday by the Web site Wikileaks.org. It's a 38-minute black-and-white film that shows a group of men moving down a road, some of whom were believed to be carrying weapons. The gunships then attack the grup, killing most of the men, then destroy a van after people show up to help the wounded.

The aviators said on the tape they believed they killed 12-15 people. Among those are believed to be a Reuters photographer, his driver and the injury of two children. Reuters said it could not verify the video was of its employee dying; however, it did appear the victim had a camera slung over his shoulder.

The U.S. military said Monday it was investigating the authenticity of the video. According to the Star Tribune, a senior U.S. military official said the footage was authentic. He agreed to talk under anonymity because he was not authorized to talk about the video, the Tribune said, and he did say that the military could also not confirm the identities of the Reuters employees who were supposedly killed.

The Star Tribune said the video happened at a time when violence was peaking in Baghdad and the U.S. death toll was increasing. In previous investigation into the incident, the U.S. military said the U.S. troops acted appropriately. However, the Star Tribune then reported that the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said a deeper investigation is needed in light of this video. According to this organization's research, at least 16 journalists have been killed by U.S. forces in Iraq since the U.S. invaded in March 2003.

So far, there is no evidence that journalists were intentionally targeted.

Taste of the Timberwolves

Minnesota Timberwolves players towered over guests at the 15th annual Taste of the Timberwolves last month, the Star Tribune reported. Among the players were forward Kevin Love, guard Jonny Flynn and Timberwolves president Chris Wright.

The Star Tribune reported that the event took place at the Target Center, where the players served food and chatted with guests. Over the years, the event has raised more than $2.5 million for the Timberwolves FastBreak Foundation, a program aimed at Minnesota youth, they said. The Tribune said that in the last year, the foundation has helped over 2,000 organizations with donations and grants, tickets and volunteer hours.

Love spends the off-season in Los Angeles, the Star Tribune said, where he runs a coat drive and gives the money to the Salvation Army. They said his teammates also work with non-profits and reported that Wright said the team is very involved with the community.

Flynn told the Star Tribune he liked the event because he could meet people and be himself by serving food and mingling with the crowd.

The Holy Shroud

From April 10 to May 23, the public will have a chance to view the Holy Shroud, a 14-foot-long linen though by some to be the burial cloth of Jesus, the Associated Press reported.

They said the cloth has a faded image of a bearded man on it and traces of writing. There were also patches that has been sewn on the cloth by nuns in the mid-1500s, but they were removed in order to smooth out creases, making for what might be better preservation, the Associated Press said Shroud Museum director Gian Maria Zaccone told them.

They said people can reserve a three- to five-minute viewing of the linen, and 1.5 million people- not including Pope Benedict XVI- have already reserved their spot to see the Shroud in Turin in northwest Italy.

Even though the public usually only gets to view the linen once every 25 years, the Associated Press said city officials are allowing the cloth to be shown as the "first showing of the new millennium." The cloth has also been shown recently in 1998, after a 20-year-wait, and in 2000 during Millennium celebration.

Scientific tests have been done to the cloth to see about its authenticity, the Press said. In 1998, John Paul II delicately called the cloth a powerful symbol within the church that recognized Christ's suffering, but he did not make any claims about its authenticity, the Associated Press reported.

There have been mixed results, the Associated Press said. First, a Vatican researcher said she proved through computer-enhanced images that the writing on the linen was used to wrap Jesus' body after he was crucified. Then when scraps of the cloth were carbon-dated, determining it was made in the 13th or 14th century through some sort of medieval forgery, the image on the cloth- of a man with wounds like Christ would have had- could not be explained.

Antonio Lambatti, a professor of Christian history, told the Associated Press he calls himself a skeptic. He said in his opinion, the Shroud isn't real, but he also said people's fascination with it goes beyond science and implies faith.

The Associated Press also mentioned that Hitler might have been after the Shroud during WWII as a symbol of power.

9/11 museum

New Yorkers' post-9/11 clean-up experience will be recreated in a memorial museum, the Star Tribune reported.

The Tribune posted some examples that will be included in the museum.

They said some of these examples are: a woman paying respects over dozens of candles, flowers, teddy bears and a construction worker's helmet; a three-pronged trident column from a trade center tower rising out of a pile of recovered steel;homemade memorials that covered the city after the terrorist attacks (notably in Manhattan's Union Square, where relatives came with pictures of the missing); and other re-creations of shrines that were displayed during the city's eight-month cleanup.

The Star Tribune also reported that the museum's director, Alice Greenwald, said the museum will be enhanced with audio. She said by using cell phones and other recording technology, visitors will be able to hear witness's recorded testimony of the event, radio transmissions, and interviews with people (including rescue workers and evacuees) within minutes of the collapse. There will also be listening stations featuring stories from survivors, volunteers, and victims whose homes or businesses were destroyed.

There will also be a "Where were you on 9/11?" gallery, the Tribune said, where visitors can see multimedia of what people across the globe were doing when the attack occurred. They will also be able to add their own memories to the collection at the end of their visit.

The museum is projected to open in 2012, the Star Tribune said.

Sapor Cafe and Bar

The Star Tribune reviewed the restaurant Sapor (Latin for flavor) Cafe and Bar, which is a four-block walk from Target field.

The 10-year-old restaurant features the cooking of chef Tanya Siebenaler, who offers menus options inspired by cuisine all over the world, including India, China, Morocco, Russia, Italy, Mexico and the American Southwest, the Star Tribune said.

The article described the bar atmosphere as cozy and the restaurant area as pleasant when crowded but otherwise a little cavernous with its beige, copper and brown colors. However, the article mentioned that the co-owner of the restaurant, Julie Steenerson, is usually lurking around the place interacting with customers. She greets and seats customers, hangs coats, runs dishes to the kitchen or drinks to tables, and is just generally amiable and chatty with the customers, the Tribune reported.

The dishes served at the restaurant vary in taste and worldly influence, the Tribune said, but there are a few recommendations that seem to please many people. These include the variety of soups the restaurant offers, Kung Pao chicken, ribs, fish and, for dessert, churros.

The restaurant is also one of few that still accepts personal checks, the Star Tribune said. Because of its "Minnesota Nice" atmosphere and its proximity to Target Field, the article said Sapor hopes to bring in business from the sports fans.

Rites of Passage

The Star Tribune reported on a coming-of-age event at the Minneapolis Marriott on a recent Saturday evening. The event, called Rites of Passage, featured 20 young men marching into the Marriott's ballroom to the sound of African drumming. The young men had just completed a six-month program signifying their passage into adulthood.

The article began with a shocking story about Taylor Williamson, one of the initiates. Right before Christmas last year, Williamson's father passed away, and Williamson said he didn't know how he would deal with that loss. He said he found comfort through his family and the brothers in the Rites of Passage program.

The other initiates were also from the Twin Cities area, the Star Tribune said. They said the students displayed a range of interests in sports, arts and academics, and most have aspirations to continue on to college.

The ceremony lasted 90 minutes, the Tribune reported. During the ceremony, the initiates went from being clothed in tuxedos to donning robes similar to those of African kings. This symbolized their parting ways with childhood, the article said.

The Star Tribune said initiate Kasey Boyd said the program gave the young men a chance to connect across different schools. The article also noted the young men visited a correctional facility as part of the program, and the men said it was a place they never wanted to be.

Rites of Passage co-founder Linda Baker Keene told the Star Tribune that many people focus on kids in trouble, but they wanted to honor the kids who were doing things right. The Tribune said the young mean learned about health, money, time management and business etiquette.

The article said the program has had over 200 graduates from public, private and charter schools, and most continue on to higher education. The young men form lifelong bonds with each other, said Henry Crosby, who has co-chaired the program for 10 years. The Tribune concluded by mentioning that the ceremony blended traditions from different cultures and included such things as ceremonial drinks and lit candles to represent values like unity, self-determination and faith.

NCAA may expand tournament from 65 to 96 teams

The NCAA may expand its current 65-team men's basketball tournament to 68, 80, or even 96 teams, according to the Star Tribune.

NCAA vice president Greg Shaheen told the Tribune nothing has been decided, but he outlined a detailed plan Thursday that included information on a 96-team tournament. According to the article, the plan said how much time players would have off and how revenue would be distributed. Shaheen said the NCAA considered keeping the 65-team bracket, but that a larger one works better both logistically and financially.

The Star Tribune said the plan has not yet been approved by the Division I Men's Basketball Committee but that most of the details for the plan are already in place. They reported that Shaheen said the NCAA has been working with the idea of a larger bracket for the last several months, and even the last several years, in order to understand how the change would affect the organization in the future.

According to the Star Tribune's report, the expansion would not include additional travel time for teams, but it would affect the schedule-- the different playoff rounds would be scheduled differently and the Tuesday play-in game would be eliminated.

The Tribune noted at the end of the article that the NCAA's decision to expand the field from 65 to 96 teams rests on the $6 billion TV deal the organization has with CBS.

Al Newman, a former Minnesota Twins infielder and base coach, and Mark LeVoir, an NFL lineman from Eden Prairie, are working with the company My Local Ad Space (MLAS) to raise money for local high schools.

The Star Tribune said MLAS offers businesses a package that helps to enable more Web traffic and customers. MLAS gives 25 of the company's monthly fee, about $50 to $100, to a charity of its choice. They reported that Newman and LeVoir are working with MLAS to promote local high schools, and specifically their athletic programs, as options for a charity.

The Star Tribune reported that Newman said that because of the economy, it's hard for kids and their parents to afford to play sports, so this innovative way to raise money might help keep kids in sports and out of trouble. Sports equipment prices and participation costs have hurt sports enrollment in high school, Newman said. The Tribune reported that Newman said he hopes this money will help relieve some of the pressure placed on families who can't afford to enroll their students in sports.

LeVoir said he wants to reach out to more businesses in Eden Prairie as well as those in Massachusetts and the New England area, where he has played with the Patriots since 2008, according to the Tribune.

Newman said he is taking advantage of his status as a local celebrity to enable him to discuss money and the possibility of free money with businesses, the Tribune reported.

Protons were whipped to speeds greater than 99 percent the speed of light Tuesday inside the Large Hadron Collider, the world's biggest physics machine, to make subatomic particles collide, The New York Times reported.

The LHC, a 17-mile underground magnetic track outside Geneva, has been the home of this project for 16 years at the cost of $10 billion, the Times said.

The Times said CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, built the collider with their top goals being identifying dark matter, which shapes visible cosmos, and the Higgs boson, a particle thought to saturate other particles with mass.

The Minnesota Daily said the track, which is located 100 meters underground, hadn't been used in two years. They also reported the 16 years worth of research was helped in part by University of Minnesota physicists, who have been working on the project since 1993. They said the University physicists--over 25 of them, in fact--helped design and build the collider with other international scientists and engineers on behalf of CERN.

The Daily said Kevin Klapoetke, a University graduate student, said the LHC could identify the origin of mass, dark matter, black holes and more.

Both sources report there needs to be more work done on the LHC before it will be working up to its full potential. However, the Times said CERN physicists will spend the next four to six months learning about their own detectors and reviewing known physics before moving on to larger projects.

The Transportation Department and the Environmental Protection Agency's new rules for greenhouse gas emissions for automobiles were issued Thursday, ending 30 years of debate between regulators and automakers, The New York Times reported.

They said this could mean further debate over emissions from stationary sources like power plants, steel mills and refineries.

The Times said the new standard, average at 35.5 miles per gallon, will be seen by most drivers by 2016. They also mentioned that most drivers will probably see lower mileage figures in actual driving and said these new rules are expected to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent between 2012 and 2016.

The driver of the average 2016 car will save about $3000 in gasoline, officials said, as reported by the Times, but in order to achieve this new efficiency figure about $1000 will be added to the cost of new cars.

Car companies had little choice in accepting the bill, the Times said; some, like General Motors and Chrysler, were facing bankruptcy.

The cost of compliance for the industry was estimated at $52 billion over the five years of the new rules' program, the Times said. They also reported the benefits, including gasoline savings, reduced pollution, and less imported oil, to be about $240 billion.

University wrestler finishes season 31-0

NCAA champion wrestler Jayson Ness graduated with a degree in technology education in fall 2009, according to the Minnesota Daily, so he was able to focus sole on his sport in the spring.

The Daily said Ness finished this season 31-0 and won the Big Ten meet in March with a 4-0 record. He then went on to win the NCAA championship.

Ness said he has put a lot of time into wrestling, and all his hard work as finally paid off, the Daily reported. They also reported that the play that won him the NCAA championship was named the No. 1 play of the weekend on ESPN'S SportsCenter and said Ness said it was unreal to see himself on SportsCenter because wrestling usually isn't featured on the show.

The Daily said Ness was awarded the Hodge Trophy, an award given annually to the nation's top wrestler, and as the recipient he became the first Minnesota wrestler to win the trophy.

The Daily reported Ness is in graduate school at the University of Minnesota but said he doesn't know exactly what his future plans are. However, the Daily did say Ness said he will continue to be involved in wrestling no matter where his future paths take him.

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