Recently in International Category

Iceland's future uncertain following volcanic eruption

Both ABC World News and NBC Nightly News did reports following up the Eyjafjallajokull volcano eruption in Iceland.
As with the oil rig explosion reports, as many news stations clamor for follow-up reports on the same breaking news item, many attributes of the stories are similar or nearly identical while reporters and stations try to find a new angle on the same heavily-covered topic.
Both stories cover the volcano following the assumption that the worst is over, as the plume of smoke over the volcano decreases in size and the wind shifts the smoke and ash away from Europe. Both have an extensive amount of the reporter talking in the helicopter with shots of the volcano and immediate area surrounding it as well as time spent on the volcano. Both reporters point out the mix of snow and ash on the ground. The ABC World news reporter described his experience by the eruption by saying that it was "hard to breathe because the air is so windy and cold," and after leaving the volcano says that "my chest actually feels strange, my lungs almost chilled by the freezing air," to add more than merely what is seen on screen. Following that, the reporter shows very strong images of a village covered in ash with very low visibility. He also shows the ground where he had stepped on yesterday, with the muddy substance from the day before hardening and keeping his boot print.
The report from NBC did not have this strong image and instead had input from a vulcanologist and an Icelandic University professor. It would have benefited from footage of villages blanketed in ash to show rather than tell.
In another report from NBC Nightly News, the reporter ventures more into towns to talk with people, such as farmers concerned with their animals' health and schoolchildren having to wear masks, while interesting and showing the people aspect of the story, still isn't nearly as strong as the image of an almost Pompeii-like city. The reporter also includes an interview with the president of Iceland who says he is optimistic that this eruption, though unfortunate, will help draw in tourists to see the country where it all happened. She also includes footage of a normally crystal-clear waterfall having a "dirty brown" water instead and a hotel's empty parking lot, where it would normally expect about 100 tourists.
Overall, the 3 reports have a similar core but try to distinguish themselves by branching out into different areas of implication.

China targets 10,000 in sterilization campaign

The AFP reported China's attempt to sterilize nearly 10,000 citizens who had broken China's strict rules on the number of children allowed per couple. Authorities in the southern city of Puning have detained nearly 1,300 people. The 1,300 have been held in in government buildings, being given lectures on family planning rules according to the Nanfang Countryside Daily. These 1,300 are part of a larger 9,559 worst offenders (of the family planning policy) the sterilization campaign is targeting.
According to United Press International, the 20-day campaign has threatened to take away the parents of the offenders who refuse to comply with the sterilization surgery.
Both identify Huang Ruifeng, 64, as someone whose father was taken away because of his refusal to get the surgery, though only the UPI uses a direct quote from him, citing his statement to a Chinese paper. This lends more credibility instead of indirectly quoting him/just mentioning his predicament. There is also a lot of unidentified sources in the form of government officials, likely due to the sensitivity of this issue. The UPI gives background on China's stance and policies on the limit of children families can have (1, 2 for rural farmers with a firstborn girl) and that provides more context on this rather high-profile issue.

U.S. delays report on Chinese currency manipulation

The United States has delayed a report on Chinese currency manipulation until after a G-20 summit set in Washington that China has agreed to attend.
The report alleges that China has been purposely undervaluing its currency in order for its goods to be cheaper in America and American goods to be more expensive in China.
According to, the U.S. trade deficit in China was $226.8 billion last year, the highest imbalance with any country.
According, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner announced the decision to delay the report a day after the White House signaled an attempt for better relations with China. The article on the site also says that the U.S. hopes that this extension will allow China to let its currency inflate naturally. reports that the report was delayed so that better relations could exist between the U.S. and China, so that China would support tougher sanctions on Iran's nuclear program at the G-20 summit. The site also says that several lawmakers are upset at the delay, wanting the U.S. to publicly admonish the Chinese government's alleged currency manipulation.

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