Recently in Notable and Analysis Category

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.

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.

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.

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.

Miss Manners profiled with daughter

A Chicago Tribune article on the Star Tribune website profiled what the writer called an "odd couple"--a mother/daughter pair who seem, at first glance, to be absolute opposites, but who actually admitted they share some similarities.

The Chicago Tribune said Judith Martin, aka Miss Manners, is the queen of American Etiquette. In the interview, Martin touched on the meaning of a dignified wedding, the proper way to address people (by last name until invited into the personal realm of a first-name basis), and the story of how she was banned from Tricia Nixon's wedding and then crashed Julie Nixon's.

The article went on to say that Martin said she didn't actually crash Julie Nixon's wedding because she did, in fact, have press credentials, which she said she believed entitled her to have access to the wedding anyway.

On the other hand, the Tribune said the daughter of Miss Manners, Bina Martin, is the founder of an all-female Chicago improv group called Jane. The article said she seems to be more reserved than her charismatic mother, but that together the two make a "proper pair."

This profile works because it shows a fairly well-known person--Miss Manners--with her seemingly opposite daughter. The article has an interesting angle (the idea of opposites) and uses a couple anecdotes to show the personality of each person. There are a lot of good quotes, especially back and forth between the mother and the daughter. However, I feel like the profile could have been strengthened by more narrative information given by the reporter in addition to all the quotes. I would have liked to know more about Miss Manners as an individual and Bina Martin as an individual rather than just the two of them as a pair.

Earthquakes shake Chile as new president is inaugurated

A 6.9-magnitude earthquake and its strong aftershocks shook Chile Thursday as a new president was inaugurated.

President Sebastian Pinera's inauguration in a congressional building in coastal city Valparaiso lasted just a half hour before the building was evacuated, according to the Associated Press. They reported that there were no more deaths (than last month's 8.8-magnitude quake, which killed almost 500 identified victims and potentially hundreds of others), but that Chile's important north-south highway suffered extensive damage, along with some coastal cities.

MSNBC reported that Thursday's 6.9-magnitude aftershock was the strongest since the 8.8-magnitude quake, and they said it occurred along the same fault line as last month's quake. They also said that Chile is expected to suffer multiple aftershocks and that Chile's navy issued a tsunami warning.

Pinera urged citizens to seek higher ground after the tsunami warning was issued, then met with other presidents for a short before boarding a helicopter to visit disaster areas in the south, the Associated Press said.

MSNBC reported that Pinera, a billionaire investor, Harvard-trained economist and airline executive, is making reconstruction his top priority as Chile's new president.

Both sources reported that Pinera is Chile's first right-wing president in 52 years. The Associated Press said Pinera won office by promising to improve the economy, but because of the recent quakes, he said he is focusing more on the reconstruction of the country.

Pinera said on election night he would accelerate economic growth, create more jobs for citizens, and combat crime, among other things, MSNBC reported.

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