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November 18, 2007

Saudi Arabian rape victim sentenced to lashes and jail time

A 21-year-old Saudi Arabian gang rape victim was sentenced to 200 lashes and a 6-month sentence in jail Saturday, double her original sentence for being in a car with a male unrelated to her, after she appealed her first punishment, according to the BBC and the Guardian. Al-Jazeera did not report on the case.
The woman, who was 19 at the time of the attack, was raped 14 times by seven men. Her attackers’ sentences were also doubled to 2-10 years in jail, what the BBC called a light sentence considering they could’ve received the death penalty.
The judges decided to further punish the woman for “trying to aggravate the court through the media? and her lawyer was “suspended from the case, has had his license to work confiscated, and faces a disciplinary session,? according to the BBC.

Chavez seeks to increase control, will likely succeed

In two weeks, Venezuela will vote on extensive revisions to its constitution, which would cut the workday to six hours, give homemakers and maids state pensions, significantly increase President Hugo Chavez’s power and give allow him to be re-elected for the rest of his life, according to the New York Times, which called it an “experiment in centralized, oil-fueled socialism? Saturday.
Chavez’s supporters already maintain control over the “National Assembly, the Supreme Court, almost every state government, the entire federal bureaucracy and newly nationalized companies in the telephone, electricity and oil industries,? the New York Times said. If the revisions are passed December 2, which they are likely to, Chavez’ control will increase.

House increases scrutiny over government eavesdropping

The House passed a bill Thursday night which increased court scrutiny over government surveillance, such as wiretapping and eavesdropping, over possible terrorist suspects and, in direct opposition to President Bush’s request, did not grant immunity to telecommunication companies that help the government eavesdrop on its customers, according to the Washington Post and New York Times.
The Democratic bill, which was passed 227-189, largely among party lines, was a reproach to Bush’s threat to veto any bill that did not protect telecom companies from civil lawsuits.

Free speech becomes issue in Robbinsdale

Proponents of the school levy which failed in Robbinsdale are suing to declare Minnesota statute 211B.06, which restricts anyone from “knowingly distributing false political or campaign information? as unconstitutional, according to the Star Tribune.em>
The lawsuit emerged after the levy failed November 6. Levy proponents sued Robbinsdale superintendent Stan Mack, and the state Office of Administrative Hearings on charges that Mack, who called attacks against the levy purposeful distortions of truth and the state, which enforces the statute, are infringing on their First Amendment rights. Opponents also said they feared the Mack and the state would sue them on the terms of 211B.06, and wanted to beat them to it, according to the Star Tribune.

Mankato fire kills two

The first fatal fire in North Mankato for 20 years killed two people in a mobile home Saturday, according to the Pioneer Press.em>
Authorities still don’t know what caused the fire, but it looks as though an explosion set the mobile home on fire.
Shawn and Beth Marxen died from the fire at 1:25 a.m. Their two daughters were staying at their grandmother’s home, and were not hurt.
Two of the firefighters called to the scene tried to enter the home, but the fire was so intense they couldn’t get to the victims, authorities said, according to the Pioneer Press.

November 11, 2007

Diversity Analysis


I'm not sure if this story fits the mold, but I think it halfway does. It starts out about a hispanic grocery store in Iowa which urges its customers to vote, and then goes on to talk about the Hispanic influence on elections. The story told me about the Hispanic influence on elections, which I didn't know there really was, and I thought I knew most things about politics, so that was interesting. The story does it though quotes and data, and some observation.

Musharaff sets election date, continues "emergency rule"

Pakistani president Perves Musharraf, who asserted "emergency control" of the county about two weeks ago, refuses to say when the martial law will end, but did set a date in January for the next election, according to the Guardian and the New York Times.
Pakistan's supreme court was dissolved, thousands were jailed, and Pakistan's constitution was suspended under Musharraf's emergency rule. At a press conference Saturday Musharraf said he would hold elections in early January, but declined to say when his emergency rule would end or when he would step down as military leader.
President Bush called Musharraf the best president for Pakistan, according to the New York Times.

Mukasey confirmed as attorney general

Michael B. Mukasey was confirmed as the new attorney general by the Senate Thursday night, taking the place of Roberto Gonzales, who retired among scandal, according to the New York Times and the Washington Post.em>
Mukasey was confirmed in a 50-43 vote, despite Democratic criticism that he has yet to take a definite stance against torture, and has said he does not consider water boarding a form of torture.
“We cannot afford to take the judgment of an attorney general who either does not know torture when he sees it or is willing to look the other way,? Senator Kennedy, D-Mass, said, according to the Washington Post.
Mukasey, who is a retired federal judge, will be the Bush administration's third attorney general.

U.S. Commander says violence in Baghdad almost gone

The commander of the US forces in Baghdad, Major-General Joseph Fil, said Thursday that the U.S. troops have forced most Al-Qaeda out of every Baghdad neighborhood and decreased violence in Baghdad by 80 percent, according to the Guardian.
“The Iraqi people have decided that they've had it up to here with violence,? Fil said, according to the Guardian. He said the reduction in extremists would make it easier to reduce military presence in Baghdad.
European defense analysts took a more cautionary position. “One, speaking on condition of anonymity, described Gen. Fil's assessment as ‘wildly optimistic’ and warned that there was a danger of his words ‘coming back to bite him,’? the Guardian said.

Anoka County Woman Embezzles Over $100,000

An Anoka County woman was charged Wednesday with embezzling $134,000 over three
years from the car dealership she worked for, according to the Pioneer Press.em>
Natalie Maureen Steen was an accounts payable and receivable clerk for Maplewood Imports car dealership, where she moved money around in ways that it wouldn’t be missed.
Steen’s job paid $37,000 a year. She had worked for the company for over four years.

15-year-old found, ex-boyfriend arrested

An 18-year-old St. Paul man was arrested in connection with an Amber Alert case on Tuesday, according to the Pioneer Press and the Star Tribune.
David Guzman allegedly kidnapped his 15-year-old ex-girlfriend, Jacqueline Mendoza, according to the Star Tribune. Mendoza had been a runaway since Oct. 28, but had just returned to her mother when Guzman allegedly kidnapped her.
Mendoza was found safe and unharmed just after midnight not far from where she was kidnapped.

November 4, 2007

Numbers Analysis


This story is about Ford's four-year agreement with its workers' union. It includes information about the new negotiations and how many people are affected by it, etc. The reporters used numbers really well. There was never more than two to a paragraph, and then a couple paragraphs without any. The numbers showed important information. The sources for the numbers are not listed well, though I think he did a lot of number crunching himself, because he has all the statistics of how much percent profit fell and things like that, where you usually get the annual report and then figure it out yourself.

Kansas church pickets soldier's funeral, ordered to pay $11 million

Members of an extremely anti-gay church based in Topeka, Kansas were ordered to pay a total of $10.9 million in damages Wednesday after picketing a soldier’s funeral last year with signs that read “Thank God for dead soldiers,? and, “You’re going to hell,? according to the BBC.
Members of the Westboro Baptist Church, led by Fred Phelps, originally picketed funerals of AIDS victims, but recently began picketing soldiers’ funerals, who they say were killed because God is punishing them for the U.S.’s tolerance of gay culture.
In 2006, members of the church picketed Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder’s funeral. Snyder’s father, Albert Snyder, sued the church for invasion of privacy and causing emotional distress. He was awarded $8 million in damages on these counts as well as $2.9 million in compensatory damages.
The church is not part of any major denomination and only serves about 70 members.

Musharraf imposes emergency rule, arrrests hundreds

Pakistan’s prime minister, Pervez Musharraf, imposed emergency rule on Pakistan Saturday, arresting hundreds and restricting media, according to the BBC and the Guardian.
Musharraf declared emergency rule just before the Pakistan supreme court was to rule on the legality of Musharraf’s election in October. Musharraf said he did it to stop Pakistan from “committing suicide? due to what he calls the country’s militant violence and unruly judiciary, the BBC said.
Musharraf ordered the arrest of judges as the supreme court was sitting Saturday, arrested opposition politicians and senior lawyers, the Guardian said. Television and radio stations were taken off the air, and military troops are manning the streets.
The emergency rule could delay elections, which were scheduled to take place November 15, when Musharraf said he would step down, a year.
The U.S., which depends on an alliance with Musharraf in the war against terror, implored him to take less authoritative steps.

London police force found guilty

The English Metropolitan Police Force, known in London as the Met, which is responsible for the security of all London, was found guilty Thursday of failings that led to the death of an innocent civilian, according to the Guardian and the BBC.
Jean Charles de Menezes was shot to death in July, 2005 after police mistakenly identified him as a suicide bomber and followed him to a tube stop, where they shot him several times.
The Met was fined £175,000 ($350,000) and ordered to pay £385,000 ($770,000) in damages.
Leaders of the opposing political parties to the U.K.’s ruling Labour Party, the Tories and the Liberal Democrats, are demanding the resignation of Sir Ian Blair, Labour’s commissioner of the Met. Blair says he will not leave, and was publicly backed by Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Girls discovered drinking at school

After observing one student have difficulty walk down a set of stairs and others acting oddly during science class, St. Paul school officials found that four girls had shared a water bottle of vodka at Highland Park Senior High School Monday, according to the Star Tribune.
Three 14-year-old girls and one 15-year-old girl were cited for minor consumption by St. Paul police before being released to their parents. The 15-year-old had a blood-alcohol level of .172, and two of the 14-year-olds had a blood alcohol level of just under .08, according to the St. Paul police spokesman, the Star Tribune said.
The minimum school penalty for drinking in school is suspension, and the St. Paul schools public spokesman said they would be referred for a chemical health evaluation.

Suspected robber kills himself

Only ten minutes after robbing a Hudson, Wisconsin bank, the suspected robber, who made it to Stillwater but was blocked from escaping by a police car, shot himself in the head, a bag of cash at his side, according to the Pioneer Press.
Little details have been released about the suspected robber, though police did find a business card with him, along with the pistol and money.
Hudson police believe the suspected robber is the same man who robbed another bank nearby last Friday, due to the man’s stature and mannerisms, which match the description of that robber.