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March 30, 2008

Anti-conscription activist Ivan Toms dies in South Africa

The Associated Press reported Sunday anti-conscription activist Ivan Toms, a white South African doctor, died Tuesday in his Cape Town home. He was 55.

In getting the details about Toms’ life, the reporter talked with a secretary of the African National Congress and a director of health for Cape Town. It appears the reporter found background information on Toms’ life, but does not attribute it to anyone or anything.

The lead is a standard lead in that it cuts right to the point of who died, where he did, when it happened and how old he was. In the next line he tells how Toms died.

I believe the lead works because it helps tell the reader who the person is right from the start. I did not know who the person was until reading the obituary and I think a different kind of lead would have just confused me.

The obituary is different than a resume because it is more personal. A resume tells where a person has worked, their education level and what other groups they are a part of. An obituary gives a more personal level in the story by it connecting the reader through the person’s achievements in life.

Rebel targets hit by Turkey in Iraq

Turkey’s military said Saturday that they killed 15 Kurdish rebel targets in northern Iraq in a two-day operation involving artillery and airstrikes, the Associated Press reported.

The military detected a group of Kurdish rebels were preparing for an attack against Turkish targets from their bases in Iraq, the military said.

Turkish airplanes hit their targets, but the casualty figures were unclear, a military statement said.

“Turkish jet fighters launched airstrikes against sites at the Zab border area with no casualties,? spokesman Haval Danas said. “The fighter jets have bombed old sites that witnessed fierce clashes before with Turkish army and nobody was there.? (AP)

The BBC reported the Turkish military attacked the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or the PKK, the party said. Up to 3,000 Kurdish rebels are believed to be in the PKK, the PKK said.

The Turkish military has been conducting airstrikes in northern Iraq, with the help of the U.S. intelligence, since December.

The PKK is recognized as a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union, which Turkey is a part of.

March 29, 2008

Zimbabweans start to count votes

The BBC reported Saturday vote counting has begun in Zimbabwe after an election took place to see if President Robert Mugabe will win a sixth term in office.

Mugabe is going up against rivals Morgan Tsvangirai of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change Party and his former finance minister and independent Simba Makoni.

The MDC Party announced that early poll results showed that Tsvangirai had won, but did not give any figures.

“We have won this election,? Secretary General Tendai Biti said. “This trend is irreversible.? (BBC)

Full results, however, will not be announced for another day or two because the process was complicated this year, BBC Southern Africa correspondent Peter Biles said.

Across the country, voters were not allowed to cast votes because their names were not registered or they were trying to vote in the wrong ward.

In addition, some party leaders are afraid that the opposition will rig results or force illiterate voters to vote for a specific party.

The New York Times reported many Zimbabweans want to oust President Mugabe.

“People want him gone, finally gone, finally and forever gone,? Charles Musonza, an out-of-work tailor, said. “Zimbabwe has been ruined by Mugabe. There is no future if he wins.? (New York Times)

One problem facing Zimbabwe is an inflation rate of more than 100,000 percent, forcing people to carry heavy bricks of cash. A soft drink can cost around 30 million Zimbabwean dollars, a chicken $200 million and a tank of gas around $1.8 billion.

At a news conference Thursday, the two opposition candidates to Mugabe said they are concerned of what they call ghost voters. These are voters that they say vote for Mugabe even though they are deceased.

Mugabe, though, has denied the allegations and said he does not rig elections.

In order to win the presidency, a candidate must receive a majority vote. If that does not transpire, the top two vote-getters meet in a runoff three weeks from now.

UCLA defeats Xavier to reach third straight Final Four

The Associated Press reported Saturday UCLA is headed to their third straight Final Four after they defeated Xavier 76-57 in Phoenix.

The Bruins (35-3) were led by freshman Kevin Love, who had 19 points and 10 rebounds on 7-of-11 shots from the floor. Afterwards, Love was named the most outstanding player of the West Regional.

“He looks like he’s 25 years old when he’s playing,? Xavier coach Sean Miller said of Love, who is 19. (AP)

The victory sends UCLA to their record 18th overall trip to the Final Four. This streak of Final Four appearances is the longest streak for the Bruins since the John Wooden era that saw nine straight trips and a 10th consecutive trip in 1976 under Wooden’s successor, Gene Bartow.

UCLA’s defense held the Musketeers (30-7) to a shooting percentage of 36.2 percent from the floor.

“We can play better than we did today,? Miller said. “I couldn’t be more proud and really at ease right now because I really felt we went about as far as we could and lost to a great team.? (AP)

The Los Angeles Times reported UCLA will face the winner of the Memphis-Texas game next Saturday in San Antonio.

The game was close, but things slipped away from the Musketeers with 14:55 left to play. Love hit a three-point shot to put the Bruins up 48-28.

Mbah a Moute contributed to the Bruins scoring with 13 points and 13 rebounds. UCLA guard Darren Collison also had 19 points.

March 24, 2008

Joe Nathan agrees to a three-year contract

The Star Tribune reported Monday closer Joe Nathan and the Twins agreed to a three-year extension, that includes a club option in 2012.

The two-time All-Star was in his final year of contract in 2008. He is going make $6 million, which is less than other ace relievers.

Last season, Nathan went 4-2 with a 1.88 ERA, 37 saves and 77 strikeouts. During his four seasons with the Twins, Nathan has amassed 160 saves with a 1.94 ERA.

The Associated Press reported Nathan will make $47 million in the next four years.

After having lost Johan Santana, Torii Hunter and Carlos Silva during the off-season, Minnesota worked hard to keep their All-Star closer.

“It was definitely a priority for us,? assistant general manager Rob Antony said. “We look at Joe as a key member of the core of this ballclub. We had to take care of some other things first… but when the time was right we did it. And it was well worth it.? (AP)

In the next four seasons, Nathan will earn $11.25 million with a $2 million buyout. In addition, Nathan’s option could be $14 million, if the 33-year-old closer can finish 55 games in 2010 and 2011. Nathan’s contract, also, has a limited no-trade clause.

During the off-season the Twins gave extensions to catcher Joe Mauer and right fielder Michael Cuddyer. Furthermore, all three players will be with the Twins when they move into their new ballpark in 2010.

St. Cloud bridge to be looked at by NTSB

The Associated Press reported Monday that federal investigators will examine the St. Cloud bridge that was closed last week after distorted gusset plates were discovered.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation said the National Transportation Safety Board wants to study the Minnesota 23 bridge because of its similarities to the 35W bridge that collapsed in August. The board was in the process of reviewing the 35W bridge collapse when the St. Cloud bridge had to be closed.

MnDOT said the federal investigators will look at the St. Cloud bridge on Wednesday.

The St. Cloud Bridge was closed after four gusset plates were found to have had slight bowing. State transportation officials said they will try to hire Wiss, Janney, Elstner and Associates Inc. to see if the gussets can be repaired.

The Star Tribune reported the St. Cloud bridge will continue to be closed and may never be reopened if it cannot be repaired.

Both MnDOT and NTSB would not comment about pictures showing bent gusset plates on the 35W bridge in 2003.

March 16, 2008

New terminal opens at Heathrow

The New York Times reported Friday a new terminal opened at Heathrow Airport in London in order to help ease congestion at the airport.

The BAA, the airport operator, said the fifth terminal will have faster check-in and security will be more efficient. In addition, there will be 112 retail outlets in the terminal. All this, to help ease traffic in one of the worlds most congested airports.

A crowd of hundreds was present at the inauguration, including dignitaries and construction workers. Queen Elizabeth II announced the new terminal that has a 130-foot-high, 1,300-foot-long main building.

The terminal cost about $8.7 million and will be used mainly by British Airways. The airline is known for losing passengers’ luggage. British Airways loses an average of 26.5 bags per 1,000 passengers, while other airlines lose on average 16.6 bags.

The BBC reported the new terminal will help Heathrow compete with other large airports by allowing passengers more space to get around.

“Terminal 5 marks the start of a new beginning for Heathrow, for BAA and for our millions of passengers,? Sir Nigel Rudd, chairman of BAA, said. (BBC)

There will be 50 airport stands with an increase to 60 in 2010. In addition, there will be a new multi-story parking lot and two satellite buildings.

Terminal 5 will officially open to the public on March 27. The first terminal was opened in 1955 by the queen.

Crane collapse kills 4 in New York

Four people died Saturday in New York City as a crane standing 19 stories along a skyscraper fell across a city block, the Associated Press reported.

As the crane fell, it fell into pieces destroying a four-story townhouse and damaging five other buildings. Four people, who were believed to have been construction workers, died and 10 others were injured, according to Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

The collapse occurred on Manhattan’s East Side and left cars overturned and crush. Rubble amassed over several stories high and a huge dust crowd rose over the neighborhood.

Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta said the rescue has been “a painstaking hand operation, as we try to remove the rubble so we don’t cause further collapse or injure anyone who may still be in that building.? He added that the operation would continue throughout the night if needed. (AP)

The crane had completed 19 of the planned 43-story condominium before it collapsed. The crane was scheduled to extend Sunday so it could start on a new story, the owner of the construction company said.

“It was an absolute freak accident,? Stephen Kaplan, an owner of the Reliance Construction Group, said. “All the piece of steel had to do was fall slightly left or right, and nothing would have happened.? (AP)

Instead, the piece of steel fell and cut one of the ties that held it to the building, Kaplan said. In addition, Kaplan said the company subcontracted the crane work to different companies and was not in charge of it.

The BBC reported Bloomberg said three of the people injured are in serious condition.

“Our thoughts go to the families,? Bloomberg said. “I hope we will not find other victims.? (BBC)

Maureen Shey was in her apartment opposite of the under-construction building when the crane fell. She said there was a load roar and bricks flew everywhere. Luckily, the crane missed her building.

March 13, 2008

Roy leads Blazers past Timberwolves

The Pioneer Press reported Wednesday that Brandon Roy led the Portland Trailblazers to a 103-96 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Target Center.

Roy finished with a game-high 27 points with nine of them coming in the fourth quarter. In addition, Roy collected 9 assists.

“I thought he really came out tonight with that attitude: ‘We can’t lose this,? Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. “He kind of willed this game, and he made plays down the stretch.? (Pioneer Press)

The Blazers won three of four road games that were scheduled during a five day span. Their only loss during the stretch came on Monday at Celeveland 88-80.

“We are making really good strides,? Roy said. “You go on a road trip and start out winning three out of four. We are a young team, and we are improving. Guys are finally starting to come into their own.? (Pioneer Press)

One player that the Blazers have had to deal without is their No. 1 pick from a year ago, Greg Odon, who won’t be able to play until next season.

Roy’s success Wednesday came against his former team. In 2006, the Timberwolves drafted Roy in the first round before trading him to Portland for Randy Foye and some money, the Star Tribune reported.

For most of the game, the Timberwolves held the lead in the contest, but with 2 minutes, 20 seconds left on the clock, Roy made a jump shot to put the Blazers up for good.

Al Jefferson of Minnesota scored 20 points of his own with 18 of them coming in the second half. However, his performance was not enough to outperform the all-star Roy.

“They’ve got shooters all the way from 1 to 4 [point guard through power forward] and then they got Big Boy [Joel Przybilla] dunking the ball and blocking shots,? Jefferson said. “That makes it tough. When they get Odon back next year, that’s going to be even worse. Better for them, worse for us.? (Star Tribune)

March 12, 2008

Five ejected in Yankees-Rays brawl

The New York Times reported the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays scuffled Wednesday during a spring training game at Al Land Field.

Over the weekend the two squads had an altercation when Elliott Johnson of the Rays broke the wrist of Yankee’s catcher Francisco Cervelli, after a collision at home plate.

The bad blood boiled over into the Wednesday spring training between the clubs that saw three players and two coaches ejected.

“Hopefully, it’s under the rug,? Tampa Bay outfielder Jonny Gomes said. “But to tell you the truth, I kind of doubt it. I just hope nobody gets hurt.? (New York Times)

Yankee’s starting pitcher Heath Phillips was the first one to be ejected after he his Ray’s third baseman Evan Longoria with a 1-1 fastball. The pitch was high, but merely tapped Longoria.

“It just barely hit me,? Longoria said. “I didn’t feel like it was intentional.? (New York Times)

Then in the top of the second inning, Shelley Duncan of the Yankees led off with a ball hit towards Longoria. Longoria misplayed the ball and Duncan rounded towards Ray’s second baseman Akinori Iwamura. The ball beat Duncan and he decided to slide hard into Iwamura.

Iwamura was not hurt, but Duncan was immediately ejected from the game. After the tackle, Gomes ran at Duncan and tackled him to the ground and then was ejected himself. Both benches cleared before the umpires were able to restore order.

The Associated Press reported the two managers ejected were Yankee’s third base coach Bobby Meacham and hitting coach Kevin Long.

Before the game, both Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon and Yankee manager Joe Girardi met with the umpires. Both teams were told that the umpires would have little tolerance.

Yankees catcher Jorge Posada said that he did not think Phillips should have been ejected because he did not believe the throwing at Longoria to be intentional. Posada, however, did not defend Duncan’s actions.

“You’ve got to ask Shelley,? Posada said. “I’ve got nothing to say.? (New York Times)

Mankato bar denies claims of wrongdoings

The Pionner Press reported Wednesday a Mankato bar are denying allegations filed by the family of a 21-year-old woman who died after drinking there on her birthday.

Amanda Jax partied Oct. 29, 2007 at the Sideline Bar & Grill, before her friends took her back to her apartment. Once she returned to her apartment, Jax died.

Jax died of alcohol poisoning and had a blood alcohol concentration of nearly .46, which is more than five times the .08 amount that the law says impairs a person’s ability to drive.

The lawsuit also names several of Jax’s friends who had been buying the drinks for Jax, police records showed. Jenny Haag, Jax’s mother, said that if her friends had stopped buying drinks, then Jax would still be alive.

The Star Tribune reported the lawsuit was filed in Blue Earth County District Court about a month ago.

Craig and Adam Blattner are the owners of the bar, which has been closed down after the City Council took action.

Steve Tomsche, the Blattner’s attorney, said that they willl seek “an amount in excess of $50,000? in damages. Tomsche claims that Jax’s friends and the bartender continued to give Jax alcohol even after she was perceived to be intoxicated. (Star Tribune)

The bartender, however, is not being charged.

March 9, 2008

Eccentric designer to have show in Union Station

The Los Angeles Times reported Sunday that eclectic fashion designer Jared Gold will have a free, open-to-the-public runway show Friday at Los Angeles’ famous Union Station.

The venue will hold 1,500 people and Gold will be showcasing his largest collection ever. Gold will reveal fifty-five women’s looks and six men’s ensembles in the historic train station. The collection is called Czarina and is inspired by the Russian Bolshoi Ballet Company.

During the event, prima ballerinas from Salt Lake City’s Ballet West Company will perform as the models walk down the runway. Afterwards, goth-rockabilly band Miss Derringer will perform at the after-party in the station.

In the past, Gold has been known for his extravagant shows. The Salt Lake City native has played a flaming xylophone on the runway, filled a venue with silver balloons and had a model tote a pig’s hoof down the catwalk.

Gold is known for his eccentric style, but sometimes it’s not always wearable. This is a problem because stores are afraid to carry Gold’s collections.

“They were scared the edgier stuff wouldn’t sell,? Gold said. “Now I just make whatever I want, and the stuff that Barneys wasn’t going to take a risk on are our hottest sellers.? (Los Angeles Times)

However, one good thing Gold does is he gets his collection to the public fast. In most cases, Gold’s clothing can be on sale to the public the next day after its premier on the runway.

The article only cites one source and that is Gold himself. He is the only person that article has quotes from and no other sources are mentioned. The writer chose to write an angle that dealt with Gold’s uniqueness as a designer. They opened the story about how crazy Gold’s shows are and how he is going to be having one in Union Station. As a result, the author makes the story an advance, but also a profile because they write about Gold’s past and how he is as a designer. So, the reader gets a sense of who Gold is and it helps them decide whether they want to go attend the free show or not.

March 8, 2008

Rodriguez and Posada limited in duties

The New York Times reported Friday that Yankee’s third baseman Alex Rodriguez and catcher Jorge Posada will be limited in their spring training playing time due to injuries.

Both players shared the designated hitter spot because of injuries. Rodriguez and Posada both have sore lat muscles in the upper back under the arm. The injury restricts both of them from throwing, but allows them to bat.

“A lot of people are going to go through some arm issues in spring training,? Manager Joe Girardi said. “For me, it’s better to be safe than sorry.? (New York Times)

In the Friday game against the Houston Astros, Rodriguez went 1 for 2 and Posada 0 for 3. Neither player complained of any problems during the game. Girardi said both players should be able to return to the field on Monday.

The Associated Press reported Rodriguez and Posada threw for a little before the game.

“Everything is fine hitting,? Posada said. “I threw today and didn’t feel it. I didn’t push it, obviously, so it’s just day to day. I’m not worried about it.? (AP)

In addition, the Yankees expect to have outfielder Hideki Matsui, who is coming off of knee surgery, back on Monday. Matsui is expected to take over the DH duties before possibly playing in the outfield.

March 5, 2008

Bush backs McCain for presidency

Senator John McCain of Arizona was announced Tuesday in Washington by President Bush as the new head of the Republican Party, the New York Times reported.

McCain traveled from Dallas to meet the president at the White House for a hot dog lunch. Afterwards, President Bush formally endorsed McCain for the 2008 presidency.

“I’m very honored and humbled to have the opportunity to receive the endorsement of the president of the United States,? McCain said. (New York Times)

The two had once been foes during a heated 2000 Republican Party election that saw President Bush win. However, the two look to be on friendlier terms.

Now that Senator McCain had been nominated for the Republican Party, he can receive help from the Republican National Committee. The committee has around $25 million for McCain to use to help him campaign for the presidential election. On the other hand, the Democratic National Committee cannot support a candidate until one has been nominated.

“We’ve been preparing for the last several months,? Robert M. Duncan, the chairman of the Republican committee said. “We’ve been raising the money. We’ve been doing the research that’s necessary. We’ve been putting the staff together. And all of that is available to Senator McCain, as our presumptive nominee, as of today.? (New York Times)

Reuters reported the endorsement by President Bush could hinder and help Senator McCain.

Bush can help McCain gain conservative support who can donate funds to McCain’s campaign trail. However, the endorsement can also hurt McCain because President Bush is unpopular with many Americans as a result of the Iraq war.

If McCain, 71, wins the election in November, he would become that oldest person ever to be elected to a first U.S. presidential term.

McCain said that he will begin the process of picking a vice-presidential running mate, a choice analysts say is important due to McCain’s age.

March 4, 2008

Keillor puts house on market

The Pioneer Press reported Tuesday humorist and radio star Garrison Keillor has placed his Crocus Hill home on the market.

Keillor is asking for $1.65 million for his seven-bedroom, five-bath, 5,960-square foot home, according to www.realtor.com. The home is located on the historic block of Portland Avenue in St. Paul.

In January, Keillor sued his neighbor Lori Anderson and the city of St. Paul after she planned on building a two-car garage seven feet from Keillor’s home. A settlement was reached, but was not released due to judge’s orders.

The Star Tribune reported Keillor believed that the construction of the garage would hinder the air quality and light to his property.

In addition, Keillor has made an offer on a new home in the 200 block of Summit Avenue that has around 4,000 square feet more space and is atop a half-acre lot on a bluff, Lind Nilsson, Keillor’s realtor, said. The price of the home is no longer public, but its tax value was said to be $1.6 million.

Coincidentally, Keillor’s new home is just blocks away from his old one.

Vikings sign new running back

The Associated Press reported Tuesday the Minnesota Vikings signed free-agent running back and kickoff returner Maurice Hicks to a three-year deal.

Hicks will be replacing Mewelde Moore as the Vikings No. 3 running back, behind Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor. Moore joined the Pittsburgh Steelers during the off season.

The 29-year-old Hicks will help the Vikings with their special team play. Last season with San Francisco, Hicks averaged 23.8 yards per kickoff return. In addition, he has amassed 50 special teams tackles in the past three years.

The Star Tribune reported Hicks is the fourth free agent to sign with the Vikings in the past week. Hicks will join new Vikings safety Madieu Williams, fullback Thomas Tapeh and wide receiver Bernard Berrian.

“Coming into this league, to stay in this league, one of the things they tell you when you’re not a big-time draft pick is you’ve got to be good on special teams,? Hicks said. (AP)

U.N. helicopter crash kills 12

The Associated Press reported Monday 12 people died in a United Nations helicopter crash in Nepal, officials said.

The helicopter crashed about 125 miles east of Katmandu after it had flown through some bad weather, U.N. officials said. The copter was returning to the capital from a Maoist cantonment site in Nepal’s eastern mountains.

The U.N. said there were only 10 people on board, but Modraj Dotel, an official with Nepal’s Home Ministry, said police rescuers found 12 charred bodies.

On board were four U.N. arms monitors from South Korea, Indonesia, Gambia and Sweden – three U.N. staff members from Nepal, and a three-member Russian crew.

The BBC reported it took police several hours to reach the crash-site on foot because it was inaccessible by road.

In addition, the bad weather cancelled other flights in the area.

The United Nations has been aiding Nepal’s peaces process since communists rebels joined mainstream politics in 2006. Since then, the communist combatants and weapons have been under the supervision of U.N. arms monitors.

March 2, 2008

Ahmadinejad holds press conference in Iraq

The New York Times reported Sunday that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited Iraq. During his visit, Ahmadinejad held a press conference with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani. In the press conference, Ahmadinejad talked about how he wants to imrpove relations between Iran and Iraq, who had fought a bloody war in the 1980s between each other. Ahmadinejad also talked about how the United States is doing more harm than good in Iraq. The New York Times wrote what the Iranian leader talked about, but the writer chose to make Ahmadinejad a villian. The writer spoke about how the two leaders wanted to improve relations, but the writer made it look like Ahmadinejad was trying to get around the U.S. in going to Iraq. The New York Times then talked about how angry people were that Ahmadinejad came to Baghdad.

Iranian leader visits Iraq

The Associated Press reported Sunday Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited Iraq to open friendly relations between the two countries.

Ahmadinejad became the first Iranian president to visit Iraq and wanted to improve the relations between the two countries after turbulent times they had with each other during the Saddam Hussein regime.

The Iranian leader met with Iraqi President Jalal Talabaniand discussed economic, political, security and oil issues, Talabani said. However, they did not dicuss border issues, including a dispute between the two nations about the Shatt al-Arab waterway.

“We had very good talks that were friendly and brotherly,? Ahmadinejad said in a news conference. “We have mutual understandings and views in all fields, and both sides plan to improve relations as much as possible.? (AP)

However, the U.S. has made accusations that Iran aids militants that contribute to Iraq’s instability. President Ahmadinejad denied these claims and said that he wants an independent and stable Iraq.

The New York Times reported during the news conference Ahmadinejad answered questions about U.S. President Bush’s statements on Iran.

“You can tell Mr. Bush that making accusations about other will increase the Americans’ problems in the region,? Ahmadinejad said. “They will have to accept the facts in the area. The Iraqi people do not like the Americans.? (New York Times)

Both countries are of Shiite majority and the two nations want to use this to begin a bond with one another. However, during the 1980s a bloody battle took place between Saddam’s Sunni regime and Shiite Iran that saw other a million lives lost.

Outside of Baghdad many angry Sunnis protested Ahmadinejad’s visit.

“I think Ahmadinejad is the most criminal and bloody person in the world,? Emad Abbas, a 21-year-old university student in Samarra, north of Baghdad, said. “This visit degrades Iraq’s dignity, and it proves that Iraq is occupied twice, once by the United States and once by Iran.? (New York Times)

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari told the AP that Ahmadinejad plans to leave Iraq on Monday morning.

March 1, 2008

Niners add Smith to defense

The San Francisco Chronicle reported Saturday that the San Francisco 49ers signed free-agent defensive end Justin Smith with a six-year, $45 million deal.

Smith was started every game for the Cincinnati Bengals for the past six seasons. However, he only accumulated two sacks last season and has never had more than nine sacks in a season. But, Smith said last season was a down year for him.

“There were a lot of reasons for last year,? Smith said. “Both me and Robert Geathers were hampered by injuries that we had with linebackers and the secondary. So we were forced into blitzing situations that caused us to pinch and have to take other gaps.? (San Francisco Chronicle)

The 49s will play a 3-4 formation in the upcoming year and Smith is expected to be more of a pass rusher. The No. 4 overall pick in the 2001 draft from Missouri believes he can help the 49ers succeed in improving their defense.

“The potential on this defense, and what they’ve accomplished… I think it can be a very strong unit,? Smith said. (San Francisco Chronicle)

However, the Associated Press reported the 49ers have not had much success on the defensive side of the ball in recent seasons.

The Niners were tied for 21st in the NFL iwht only 31 sacks. Furthermore, their leader in sacks last season, Bryant Young, retired with only getting 6 ½ sacks last season.

San Francisco have also signed receiver Isaac Bruce and kick returner Allen Rossum during the off season.

Juvenile shot in Minneapolis

The Pioneer Press reported that a boy was shot and killed in Minneapolis Saturday afternoon.

The incident occurred at the intersection of Portland Ave. S. and Lake St. E. at about 2 p.m., police said.

The Star Tribune reported that police spokesman Jesse Garcia would not release the name or age of the victim. He did, however, say that the juvenile was shot in the torso and died at Hennepin County Medical Center.

Police don’t know a motive for the shooting yet and they are looking for suspects.

“It’s a busy intersection,? Garcia said. “Shooting in broad daylight just shows how brazen some of these suspects are.? (Star Tribune)

A nearby Midas shop was hit by a bullet, which shattered a window, Diana Cordero, who works at a nearby car dealership called Portland Lake Motors. She said the shooter ran down Portland Avenue and many people came to the victim’s aid.