October 2010 Archives

Miniskirt ban in Italian town

A miniskirt ban has been planned to be put in place in an Italian seaside town near Naples.

According to the Globe and Mail, Luigi Bobbio, mayor of Castellammare di Stabia, put a proposal together that would ban miniskirts that were too short. The Guardian reported that the mayor has ordered police officers to find women who are wearing too short of skirts or that are showing too much cleavage in order to raise the public decorum.

The Globe and Mail said the proposal would also ban sunbathing, playing soccer in public places, and blasphemy in order to "restore urban decorum and facilitate better civil co-existence." The Guardian reported that the fines will be up to 500 Euros to offenders.

The Globe and Mail, from a source of BBC, reported that this wasn't the first Italian town to use their powers granted by the Prime Minister in order to cut down on anti social behavior. In some towns, sandcastles, kissing in cars, feeding stray cats, wooden clogs, and the use of lawnmowers on the weekends has been banned.

According to the Guardian, the mayor's proposal drew outrage from local politicans who protested with a sit-in outside the town hall.

U of M's Murphy and Vincent Halls evacuated

The University of Minnesota's Murphy and Vincent Halls, located on the campus's East Bank, were evacuated Monday, after a potential gas leak in the building.

The Minnesota Daily reported that the MInneapolis Fire Department evacuated both Vincent and Murphy Hall around 12:30 on Monday for about 30 minutes after they recieved a report of a gas leak. KARE 11 reported that the fire department came to the scene and found nothing after testing the building which was then handed over to University of Minnesota officials.

The Minnesota Daily said there were half a dozen fire trucks on campus that were parked along Church Street and Washington Avenue. KARE 11 reported that the odor was traced back to a bag in a garbage can or a dry sewer drain.

Two arrested in biggest drug bust in decade

Two people were arrested after police confiscated a large amount of methamphetamine in Isanti County Friday.

According to Isanti County News, police issued a search warrant for 3724 345th Ave. N.E. in Cambridge on Friday where they found 98.8 grams of methamphetamine. KSTP added that the Isanti County Sheriff's Deputies also confiscated handguns and cash, but stated that police found more than a 100 grams of methamphetamine.

The two residents of the home, Ashley Lynn Smith, 25, and Jeremy Scott Blahowski, 31, are in jail and face felony drug charges, the Isaniti County News reported. They appeared in court Monday and were both charged with one count of felony first degree possession of 25 grams or more of methamphetamine. KSTP added that the two were booked for substance control violations and outstanding felony warrants.

KSTP reported that the sheriff says this is one of the biggest drug busts in Isanti County in a decade.

Isanti County News said that this hasn't been the first run in with the law for Smith and Blahowski. In 2007, Smith was convicted of a first degree drug sale crime in Anoka County with 20 years of probation. In 2008, she was also convicted for a first degree drug sale crime in Chisago County and is currently on a 15 year probation.

Blahowski currently has a criminal history in property crimes, theft, burglary and forgery convictions.

The Isanti County News said that a search warrant was executed because of a tip the police department got that methamphetamine was being sold from the residence and that security cameras were installed facing the driveway and a pole barn.

Rhode Island Democrat tells Obama to "shove it"

Democrat Frank Caprio told various news organizations that President Barack Obama could "shove it."

According to the New York Times news blog, The Caucus, Caprio, the Democratic candidate for governor of Rhode Island, said, "He [President Obama] could take his endorsement and really shove it, as far as I'm concerned." FOX News reported that President Obama is not campaigning or endorsing Caprio out of respect for his friendship with another candidate for governor, Lincoln Chafee.

The Caucus also added that Caprio thought of this friendship (President Obama's and Chafee's) as "Washington insider politics at its worst." Caprio also said that President Obama was treating Rhode Island "like an ATM machine." Caprio said, "What I said to the president is that this process about endorsements is not something I'm concerned about right now and he can take the endorsement and shove it," FOX News reported.

Currently Caprio and Chafee are in a tight race, reported The Caucus. Caprio also added, "I will wear as a badge of honor and a badge of courage that he doesn't want to endorse me as a Democrat because I am a different kind of Democrat."

FOX News added that the White House did not react to Caprio's comments, but Deputy White House Press Secretary Bill Burton said, "I know that it's -- we're entering the final week of the election season, and emotions are running pretty high. So I don't think anybody is surprised to see people feeling particularly strongly about these races."

Earthquake strikes on coast of Indonesia

An earthquake struck the coast of Indonesia Monday that had intially sparked tsunami warnings, which caused residents to evacuate.

The Associated Press (AP) reported a that a 7.7-magnitued earthquake struck 13 miles from Indonesia's Sumatra island. Reuters said that it was a 7.5-magnitued earthquake that had started tsunami warnings which were later called off by an Indonesian earthquake legacy.

The AP said five towns were badly damaged as well as the islands of Mentawai. However, Reuters reported that the earthquake had caused no immediate damage or had any casualites.

There were 5.0-magnitude aftershocks that hit less than an hour of the original earthquake, according to the AP. Reuters reported that there were two aftershocks.

About one year ago, the city of Padang in Indonesia was badly hit by a 7.6-magnitude earthquake that killed around 700 people and damaged or flattened 180,000 buildings, said the AP. Reuters also added that in 2004, a tsunami, which was caused by a 9.0-magnitude earthquake off of Sumatra, killed over 226,000 people making it the deadliest earthquake in history.

The AP reported that Indonesia is most prone to volcanic activity and earthquakes because it lies in the Pacific Ring of Fire.

Man charged with death of landlord

A man had murder charges filed against him Wednesday after police found his live-in landlord beaten to death.

According to the Star Tribune, Adam L. Sterling, 23, was charged with second-degree intentional murder. He is accused to have beaten his landlord, Leo D. Kohorst, 22, to death early Sunday morning. The St. Cloud Times adds that Kohorst was beaten to death with a crowbar or claw hammer.

The medical examiners office has determined that Kohorst was struck 22 times in the head and left to die on a couch on the first floor of the house, the Star Tribune said. The St. Cloud Times reported that Sterling was renting living space from Kohorst. Kohorst was considering evicting Sterling for breaking house rules and causing tension amongst the other residents in the house.

The Star Tribune reported that Sterling had been known to wear women's clothing. On the day of Kohorst's murder, Sterling had been seen wearing black leggings and a green skirt. The St. Cloud Times said Sterling had been wearing a green dress and black leggings.

The police have not found the clothes Sterling had been wearing Sunday, but police did find a pair of blood-stained high heels, the Star Tribune reported. The St. Cloud TImes said that Sterling had been wearing the high heels when police arrived to the house. When asked how he got blood on himself, Sterling told the police that he got it when he put a blanket over Kohorst's body.

The Star Tribune said that on Tuesday, a resident, who lives two blocks from the murder scene saw a man rummaging through her garbage and found a crowbar that was wrapped in a green piece of clothing. Police are currently looking for the man who found the crowbar.

Residents escape apartment fire

A fire Tuesday in a South Minneapolis apartment building caused residents to jump from their windows to safety.

According to FOX 9 News, the fire started around 4 a.m. on the 3400 block of 10th Avenue. WCCO reported that there are about 12 units inside the apartment building.

FOX 9 News reported when fire crews arrived, they found light smokes coming from the third story of the building. There was a fire in the hallway on the upper floor, which firefighters found and contained.
Some of the residents in the builiding evacuated out of their windows before the fire crews arrived, reported FOX 9 News. However, when crews did arrive they got other residents of the builiding out by ladder although one person who jumped from the buliding injured their leg.

FOX 9 News reported that the origin of the fire is unknown, but arson may be suspected. WCCO has reported that the Minneapolis Fire Department believes the fire may have been started on purpose. Some of the residents of the building believe someone may have poured gasoline in the hallway causing the residents to leap from the building.

One family even admitted to WCCO they had to throw two of their children from the building because the smoke and fire was so intense.

WCCO said that residents were allowed back inside the building by mid-morning.

Shots fired at Pentagon

Gunshots were heard outside the Pentagon Tuesday, however no injuries occured.

The New York Times reported that a security guard at the Pentagon heard five gunshots around 5 a.m. The shots had damaged the outside wall of the building and shattered several windows. Reuters reported that the gunman fired seven shots using, what investigators believe, a high-velocity rifle.

Currently, investigators are trying to link or see if there is a connection between the Pentagon shootings and the shootings at the National Museum of Marine Corps this past weekend, reported the New York Times. However, Reuters said that Director of the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, Steven Calvery, said he considered the shootings a random event.

The New York Times stated that the agency had closed down access to the Pentagon for an hour to conduct sweeps of the area, although eventually nothing was found. Reuters reported that the agency may believe there were other bullet strikes on the building.

Saudi prince found guilty of murder

A Saudi prince was found guilty of murder Tuesday by the British jury.

According to CNN International, Prince Saud Abdulaziz Bin Nasser Al Saud was found guilty of murdering an aide, Bandar Abdulaziz, at a London hotel in February. He has also been convicted of "grevious bodily harm." The Los Angeles Times reported that Abdulaziz was found dead in his bed at the Landmark London Hotel on February 15.

Abdulaziz suffered broken ribs and bruises to his head and body. There were also signs of strangulation, brain injuries, and bite marks, the jury found, according to the Los Angeles Times. CNN International added that Abdulaziz died from a severe beating that led to injuries to his brain.

CNN International said that Saud did not deny killing Abdulaziz, but stated that he did not intend to do so. With that admittance, the British jury had to decide if Saud was guilty of murder or manslaughter. However, the Los Angeles Times reported that Saud initally told the police Abdulaziz was attacked and robbed at London's Edgware Road a couple weeks before he died. He also stated that Abdulaziz and another man had been out drinking on Valentine's Day night and when he awoke he had found his servent dead.

CNN International reported that this was not the first time Saud had mistreated Abdulaziz. However, prosecutors stated that the prince's consistent mistreatment of his aide had a sexual element to it. The Los Angeles Times supported this statement by saying that the court had heard from several hotel staffers who claimed the two seemed to be in a sexual relationship with each other.

Saud currently faces a lifetime sentence in Britain or deportation when he hears his sentence on Wednesday.

Analysis: Multimedia use in Simpsons story

In the news story about the controversial opening scene of a recent Simpsons episode, Entertainment Weekly and BBC News both went down the same multimedia venue.

In both news articles, they used a video of the controversial opening sequence on the Simpsons to show the readers what the controversy was over. However, Entertainment Weekly also used a still from the episode along with the video.

I feel the video complements both news stories because it gives the reader an actual visual instead of trying to imagine what the news article is describing. It also gives the reader a chance to decide on their own if they find the opening sequence to be as controversial as the media is making it.

The writing style in both stories is basically the same. They are short, sweet, and get right to the point. However, the Entertainment Weekly news article is a soft story, providing questions to the reader and is more conversational. The BBC News story sticks right to the facts and provides a hard news line.

Banksy creates controversial Simpson scene

The Simpsons aired Sunday a controversial opening title scene, created by UK graffiti artist, Banksy.

According to Entertainment Weekly (EW), the opening scene depicted Asian workers laboring over Simpsons animation and merchandise. BBC News added that Banksy created a minute long sequence that showed sweatshop workers creating Simpson stills and merchandise.

In the sequence, it also shows workers killing kittens to make Bart Simpson dolls and has a chained unicorn to help punchout holes in DVD's, reported EW. BBC News said the sequence was inspired by news that the show outsources their animation a company in South Korea.

The BBC also reported that Banksy's storyboard led to delays and disputes over broadcasting standards and the animation staff even threatened to walk out.

Two teens found dead in Lakeland Park

The two teenagers found dead in Lakeland Park Tuesday evening have been identified.

According to the Star Tribune, the two teenagers were Lisa Marie Grijalva, 15, and Jacob Zachary Campbell, 14, who were both students at Oak-Land Junior High. The Pioneer Press added that the two died of of "apparent" gun shot wounds. The Star Tribune reported that authorities stated the two were shot in what looks to be a suicide case.

Police discovered a long-barreled weapon at the scene and the scene seemed contained, reported the Pioneer Press. The Star Tribune added that the two were found dead in Humphries Park, and that only one of them appeared to be a suicide victim and police were currently not looking for any suspects.

The Pioneer Press reported someone had called 911 around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday evening after discovering the teens' bodies, but that neighbors had not heard any gun shots.

The Star Tribune stated that a Facebook page had been made in the teens memory and is titled, "R.I.P. Lisa Grijalva & Jacob Campbell." The Pioneer Press added that Oak-Land Principal Derek Berg released a statement sending out his deepest condolences to family and friends of the deceased.

According to the Star Tribune, some area residents reported two students from the school had been talking about a suicide pact recently and had deleted their Facebook pages on Tuesday.

Currently, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the Ramsey County Medical Examiner has been called in to investigate, said the Pioneer Press.

Man freed from grain bin

A man trapped in a grain bin full of soy beans was rescued Wednesday morning.

WCCO reported that the man was trapped in a grain bin filled with soy beans for several hours on Wednesday. The Star Tribune said the man was chest deep when Montrose firefighters finally rescued Loren Helmbrecht.

The Wright County Sheriff's Office received the call for help around 9:22 a.m. on Wednesday, said WCCO. The Star Tribune reported that when firefighters arrived to the scene, the weight of the soy beans had been constricting Helmbrecht's chest.

The Star Tribune added that Helmbrecht had been working on a stuck auger in the grain bin when the machinery turned back on. He was "sucked in really fast" and it took firefighters three hours to get him out.

WCCO said that Helmbrecht seemed to be fine.

Supreme Court hears Texas death row inmate DNA case

The Supreme Court heard a case Wednesday of a Texas death row inmate who claims the state has DNA evidence to prove his innocence.

The Washington Times reported that Hank Skinner, who was convicted in 1995 of killing his girlfriend and her two sons, was an hour from death before the Supreme Court decided to to hear his case. Skinner claims the state of Texas had violated his civil rights by "refusing to test the evidence." USA Today added that the Supreme Court is considering whether condemned prisoners can make a civil rights claim for DNA evidence.

By taking the case, the Supreme Court is working to shape how convictions can be called into question involving how new scientific evidence is handled reported the Washington Times. USA Today said that Skinner is trying to obtain DNA evidence that would exonerate him.

Currently, over 250 people have been exonerated throught DNA testing, the Innonence Project, reported to USA Today, and that most states allow DNA testing after an inmates's conviction.

The Washington Times said that Skinner's case was ver tricky because his lawyer did have access to the DNA evidence but chose to not have it tested. The state argued this was an informed and strategic decision and the failure to test the evidence made for a faulty case. USA Today adds that DNA testing from Skinner's clothes reveled blood from the victim's at the crime scene.

However, Skinner has maintained he is innocent because he was not "physically able" to due a hand injury and he was too drunk and high on codeine at the time of the murder and that Skinner's girlfriends uncle is the actual killer, the Washington Times reported.

Hurricane weakens as it heads towards Cuba

Hurricane Paula headed closer to Cuba Wednesday night, although it is weakening and slowing down.

A forecaster reported to CNN International that Paula is expected to cross the western tip of Cuba either late Wednesday or Thursday. The AFP said the hurricane had previously drenched Mexico's Yucatan Penisula.

CNN International reported that Paula had been downgraded to a Category I storm, and was about 40 miles from west of the western tip of Cuba. The AFP added that the hurricane could be en route to the Florida Keys.

Paula's winds have dropped to 85 mph and that "gradual weakening" of the storm is expected over the next day or tow, CNN International said. The AFP reported it was currently at a Category II storm.

Cuba issued a tropical storm warning for the city of Havana and Pinar del Rio while Mexico canceled its warnings on the Yucatan, said CNN International. The AFP added that a tropical strom watch has also been issued for parts of the Florida Keys.

CNN International said that Paula was expected to bring three to six inches of rain to Cuba and could cause flash floods and mudslides.

The AFP added that Cuba was "slammed" in 2008 with three major hurricanes which caused $10 billion in damages. Currently, Hurricane Paula is the ninth hurricane of the June-through-November Atlantic season.

Analysis: Spot/follow U of M cheerleader story

I work in the Athletic Communications Department at the University of Minnesota as a Student Intern. On Thursday, while working, I recieved a phone call from University Relations informing our office that Star Tribune was looking for someone to confirm and talk about the deaths of the U of M cheerleaders on the Spirit Squad that occured early Thursday morning.

I went and told the director of our office, and he told me it was the first he had heard of it and to send all media calls his way concerning the story. So, I got to experience first hand the "spot/follow" element of writing a news article.

We got roughly around 20 phone calls that day with reporters coming into the office and calling back to get updates on the story. As the different news stations and reporters were calling in to get these facts, I went on their websites to see how often and what they were updating about the story.

I closely followed the Star Tribune, since that was the first phone call we had got. It was interesting to see overtime how the story changed and developed from something generic to a full blown human interest story. At first, the story was, like I said, very generic and only reported that three U of M students had died in a car crash where alcohol was involved and later as more details were confirmed they started to add that two were a part of the Gophers Spirit Squad and provided more details about the situation. They added who the drunk driver was, the ages of those who had died in the crash, why the car was disabled on the side of the road, etc.

They continued to add a statement the University made and, from going on Facebook, they found out the two names of those who died who were part of the Spirit Squad, even before the names had been officially released by the University.

I found it very interesting to experience first hand how the news stream works and how many updates reporters call in for and stop in to make sure they get all the details to write their article.

I'm glad this was our topic for the week because it coincidentally made an impact in my life and allowed me to experience in a working environment how important it is to "spot/follow" a news story and to watch it develop.

'Glee' beats Beatles in top billboard records

The "Glee" cast has passed the Beatles for most appearances on the Billboard Hot 100 chart by a non-solo act, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

Entertainment Weekly (EW) said that "Glee" will add six new entries on this week's Hot 100 singles chart for a grand total of 75 charting singles. The AP reported that the Beatles' only have 71 chart topping singles.

However, Elvis Presley and James Brown still top the chart with 108 singles and 91 singles, respectively reported EW.

The AP added that "Glee" has sold over 2.8 million albums and 11.5 million downloads. EW reported that "Glee" has released more singles, from the help of iTunes, than the Beatles' ever did in their entire career.

No charges will be filed in U of M fraternity assaults

No charges will be filed in the second sexual assualt case at one of the University of Minnesota fraternities, police said.

MPR News reported that police have decided not to make any charges against Chi Psi fraternity. Sgt. William Palmer told the Star Tribune, "The evidence that we have does not support a criminal prosecution."

Palmer told MPR News that they have spoken with everyone involved in the case and they do not have enough evidence to warrant a criminal prosecution. The Star Tribune reported that as part of the "thorough" investigation police spoke with a man and a woman involved in the incident and other "stakeholders" involved with the Chi Psi fraternity, also known as The Lodge.

MPR News reported that police said the fraternity was very cooperative in the investigation and "really did go out of their way" to assist them.

Chad Ellsworth, coordinator of the Office for Fraternity and Sorority Life at the U, said that the university and a "fraternity umbrella group" were still looking into possible violations of alcohol use, the Star Tribune reported. Currently U fraternities are banned from using alcohol in the house when nonmembers are present.

Fridley rollover crash kills one, injures two

A rollover crash in Fridley on Tuesday killed one passenger and injured two other people, police said.

According to the Star Tribune, an SUV went out of control in Fridley striking two road signs before rolling several times. It ended up killing one passenger and and critically injuring two of the three other passengers.

Kare 11 reported that authorities were called to the crash at University and 53rd Avenues around 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday. The SUV had swerved on the shoulder to avoid hitting another car and drove into an electronic sign.

The four passengers were not wearing seatbelts and were thrown from the vehicle in the crash, the State Patrol told the Star Tribune. Garrett Schloesser with the Minnesota State Patrol told Kare 11 that a 36-year-old male driver from Columbia Heights died at the scene and is unaware if there was alcohol involved in the crash.

The Star Tribune reports that Ernesto G. Avila-Trevino was the man killed in the crash and Karin J. Chavez, 21, from Chisago City and Caitlin G. Coy, 20, of Forest Lake were hospitalized.

Woman does not blame firefighters who home burn to ground

A family in Tennessee watched Wednesday watched as firefighters let their home burn to the ground.

According the NPR, the firefighters did not put out the fire because the family failed to pay a $75 annual protection fee. The New York Daily News said "firefighters stood by and refused to help."

Paulette Cranic told NPR the firefighters were just following orders and the family had paid the fee in the past but "simply" forgot to this time. The New York Daily News reported that Gene Cranick, the homeowner, told ABC News, "I lost everything in the house." including "three puppies that belonged to my grandkids."

NPR reported that Lance Cranic, 21, started the fire after burning trash in a barrel. He then went inside and took a shower and when he returned, the shed next to his house was in flame.

NPR reported Lance Cranic had called the fire department but they refused to come. The New York Daily News said a neighbor, who had paid the fee, finally made the call to the fire department and they immediately came to the scene. The policy, to not put out a fire, prevents firefighters from intervening when residents haven't paid up.

Pauline Cranick, however, does not blame the firefighters for following the city's orders stating, "It's not their fault," accorinding to the New York Daily News.

(I just wanted to point out that the last name of the homeowners had different spellings in each one, so I just wrote it as it appeared in each story.)

Bomb explodes outside Londonderry shopping centre

A car bomb exploded Monday outside a business in the Londonderry shopping centre in Northern Ireland for the second time in two months.

According to the Telegraph, a device in a Corsa car exploded outside a bank behind the DaVinci retail complex around midnight. BBC reported North West Money Exchange had recently relocated to the DaVince retail complex after its prior building was damaged from another car bomb.

The Telegraph reported that police received a warning an hour before the explosion. There was some damage but no injuries occured. BBC News reported that managing director David Harris said the attacks and damage done to the building would not deter the company from investing in the city.

The Telegraph also reported that no one has claimed responsiblity for the attack, but BBC News said that The Real IRA has committed responsibility for the device.

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