February 2011 Archives

Analysis - Wisconsin Protests

When comparing slideshows that were focused on the protests in Wisconsin for The New York Times and The Washington Post, I found few differences in their overall layout. They both show a large amount of photos of the protesters. Each photo shows the protesters showing extreme emotion. There are pictures of them in action as well as there are pictures of the various signs being used. There are also pictures of politicians expressing their opinion on the situation. The Times has 12 pictures for the story where The Post has 75. Each photo has a few lines written on its side stating what is going on in the actual photo. Those captions give names of the people in the pictures, names of the places the protests are taking place, and they even include some background information on each photo. The writing style is straight to the point, as it describes what is exactly going on in the photograph. The slideshows and videos available on these two news organization's websites tell news stories while adding visuals, which ultimately deepens the viewer's understanding of the story.

Four Americans Killed by Somali Pirates

Somali pirates shot four Americans who were aboard a yacht near the coast of Somalia, The Washington Post said. The yacht was hijacked by the pirates and the victims were fatally shot on Tuesday. They were shot as U.S. forces were negotiating their release. U.S. officials heard gunfire aboard the yacht immediately after a grenade was fired by the pirates. The pirate fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a U.S. Navy destroyer when the special forces found the wounded Americans, ABC News said. The four victims had already been shot when U.S. forces arrived on the ship. The troops tried to save their lives but all four died from the wounds. The victims were from California and Washington. They were the first to be attacked since the start of the attacks off East Africa several years ago. The troops also killed two pirates as they were clearing out the ship's lower decks. The pirates apparently went father out to sea in search of targets. 15 of the pirates were taken into custody and four were killed. One pirate admitted that killing hostages "has now become part of our rules."

Rosemount Man Charged After Running Over Pedestrian While Drunk

Saddam Samaan, 33, will spend a year in jail for driving drunk and running over a pedestrian twice, The Star Tribune said. He was dragging the pedestrian with his car and nearly killed him. Samaan plead guilty and has a history of alcohol offenses including driving while impaired and first-degree assault. He also has had three past convictions for drunk driving. Samaan has been named in at least 39 cases in Minnesota in the past seven years, The Pioneer Press said. The typical charge for his crime can add up to five years in prison. Samaan, who is a Jordanian, is also being held for possible deportation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The hit-and-run happened outside Shenanigans Pub. His crime was witnessed by bystanders who pounded on his window and screamed for him to stop. The victim broke loose from the car once Samaan drove over a snowbank and then was struck for the second time by the back tires. Samaan drove away immediately after the double hit. He claims he was unaware that he hit anyone. Samaan did not have a driver's license and admitted that he knew he was not supposed to be driving. The witnesses followed Samaan to an apartment complex and held him until the authorities arrived. The victim suffered multiple rib fractures, a bilateral lung collapse, liver laceration, and lateral stomach bleeding. The victim, Christopher Allen, survived.

U of M Students Rally at the Capitol

Hundreds of students from the University of Minnesota are fighting for higher education funding, The Star Tribune said. They are rallying at the state's capitol hoping to gain support on the issue. Governor Mark Dayton told the rallying students on Tuesday that he wants a state budget that avoids high education cuts. He also said that he hopes that an improving economy will create greater state investments in the future. The rally was organized by the Minnesota Student Association. The rally was held in the capitol's rotunda and its goal was to persuade lawmakers to savor funding for the U while also repairing the $6.2 billion deficit already fixed upon the state, MPR News said. They want lawmakers to preserve funding for the U while the legislature looks for ways to fix the state's $6.2 billion deficit. DFL Rep. Keith Ellison said that it was essential for the students to convince politicians that higher education benefits society. He believes the fact that it is not just a private way for someone to make money needs to be noted. Robert Bruininks, the U of M president, will testify before the Minnesota House Higher Education Policy and Finance Committee. He will speak out on how the cuts are affecting the U. College officials predict deeper cuts in the future, more than the 6 percent reduction in funding already proposed for the next two years. .

Europe Experiencing Migration Increase from Africa

The unrest that is currently taking place in the Middle East will cause Europe to experience a major increase in migration from North Africa, The New York Times said. The European Union ministers met for two to discuss the issue. Italy and Malta are highly concerned with this issue and they are worried that the increase will become even more unmanageable than it already has been. Franco Frattini, Italy's foreign minister, is especially concerned that the crisis in Libya has the potential to encourage non-Libyan citizens to use the country as a passage way to Europe. Italy has also been a hotspot for Africans looking to get into Europe, most in search for jobs. Around 3,000 Tunisians have migrated to Italy which resulted in the government declaring humanitarian emergency. Libya told the European government that it would reconsider their cooperation on the illegal migration if the Europeans didn't stop encouraging the protests pushing for democracy. The European Union also stated their wish for the growth of stability and democracy in the Middle East. Their commissioner, Cecilia Malmstrom announced their plan to assist Italy with the migration issue - a Frontex mission called Hermes, ENPI Info Centre said. This mission involves the participating Member States to assist Italian authorities with aerial and naval support. It will include the debriefing and interviewing of the migrants.

Analysis - Dangerous Winds Caused Fire in Washington

This first-day story introduced the dangerous winds and fires that caused delays in Washington. The second-day story's lead contains more detail, including the actual national park that had fire damage. The second-day article talked about the fact that there were no deaths and it explained the exact damages that were brought upon the fire. The second talked more about the actual effects of the fire and the first talked about the events that took place and they are organized in chronological order.

Obama Gives Requests to Give Over $3 Billion to Israel

President Barack Obama plans to give $3.075 billion in military aid to Israel, The Arabist said. This move by the president was criticized by the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and the amount of money was deemed unnecessary. This was part of Obama's budget request. The US Campaign thought it was unnecessary for the president to give such a high amount simply because America has its own debt and budget deficit to deal with. This amount of aid is $75 million more than the amount given in fiscal year 2011, Globes said. This financial aid package has yet to be passed by Congress, and some Republicans say it will not. A study showed that 45% percent of the American public supported cutting only foreign aid. A small amount of the public supported cutting things such as Social Security and Medicare.

Nurse Charged With Stealing Patient's Medication

A nurse from Abbott Northwestern Hospital was charged with stealing pain medication from her patient, The Star Tribune said. Sarah M. Casareto, 33, of Forest Lake, was accused of taking and using the drug fentanyl that was for her patient Larry V. King, 56, of Bloomington. She stole the medication right before before his surgery. Casareto told her patient that she couldn't give him the drugs, City Pages said. Casareto gave King only about a third of the dose of the painkiller that had been set aside for the procedure, and took the remainder. The doctor made an incision in King's back, in which he was supposed to be completely knocked out for, and stopped once King started screaming intensely. The doctors noticed Casaretto was high of the medication once she then told the screaming patient to go to his happy place. Casaretto was arrested and charged with felony theft of a controlled substance and is undergoing drug treatment.

A Study in Boston Says Meditation Can Improve Brain Structure

New research from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston indicates that meditation can improve our overall brain structure in just a few months, The Washington Post said. Just by clearing your mind for a few minutes before bed, while being completely focused on the present moment, will contribute to this brain boost. A small study was conducted on this last month in Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging. 16 people participated in a course on mindfulness-based stress reduction, which is a type of meditation that guided relaxation and stretching exercises. These sessions are to be done for 30 minutes each day. After eight weeks, MRI scans displayed brain growth in memory, empathy and compassion, and a sense of self and emotional regulation. An earlier study also showed a decrease in fear and stress in those parts of the brain. This study distributed biological evidence that meditation can distress those who utilize its practice. It is also said that this study has sparked new research on coping with stress-induced psychological problems like PTSD, Digital Journal said. The study now has brought upon the further research on the mechanisms that are involved in bringing about the change in brain structures by meditation.

Woman Shelters in Afghanistan Said to Be Corrupt

An Afghan woman, who is a top official, accused the woman shelters in Afghanistan of being corrupt and on there way to becoming government controlled, The New York Times said. She said the government was determined to take control of the shelters even if financial support from donors continues to come in. The shelters are supported by Western charities. Those utilizing the shelters are woman and girls who are running from physical and sexual abuse. Government regulation would mean those living in the shelters would be constantly monitored. Hussan Ghazanfar, the acting minister of women's affairs, said she believed the government was only concerned about their budgets, rather than the actual well-being of the women. Many of the government's proposals have alarmed some women's rights advocates. Ghazanfar also believes that the shelters have more than enough money coming in, and even if they were given less aid, the shelters would run smoothly with that lesser budget. Many woman's advocates are also against the heavy regulation because many women feel threatened by the police. Many women say they are afraid to even go into a police station alone because of the possible abuse by the police. The Afghan media have accused the shelters, run by foreign-funded non-governmental organizations, of prostitution and drug abuse, Yahoo! news said. Government regulation would have victims of abuse subjected to compulsory forensic examination, which would not allow them to leave without ministry approval.

Analysis - Iowans Coming to Minnesota for Medical Care

The article organizes its information in way that makes it easy for the reader to follow along. The reporter put the actual news in the lead and the first paragraph and then continues to elaborate on the details in the rest of the article. It includes statements from an insurance professional which gives the reader an idea of why there is even an increase in the first place. The first few paragraphs contain the most information and the article wraps up with some more personal quotations on the situation. It ends with a quotation of a man whose believes there should be no additional cost to go to Mayo. The reporter could have put the information that focuses more on the increase and the question of adding an extra cost at the top of the article and then finished up talking about the quality medical care already offered in Iowa.

Social Networking Sites Bringing in Billions

Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are bringing in large sums of money, even though most of the people contributing to the sites work for free, The New York Times said. The Huffington Post was also recently sold to AOL for $315 million. Sites, such as The Huffington Post, mostly have contributors from their own community. The AOL company has high hopes to make a come back with their purchase of The Huffington post, Mashable said. Bloggers make the sites worthwhile and they keep them going strong with their participation. The sites do a good job of trying to lure its participants to contribute financially. Advertisers pay sites like Facebook large amounts in order to sell there products. Because of this, many view Facebook as a media company than a simple social networking site. Getting paid to be a journalist for online news sites such as The Huffington Post is getting more rare as time goes by. The AOL company has high hopes to make a come back with their purchase of The Huffington post, Mashable said.

Iowans Coming to Minnesota for Medical Care

Iowans coming to the Mayo Clinic for medical care is one of the reasons for Minnesota's health rate increase, the Star Tribune said. Vice president for Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield Laura Jackson said It costs twice as much to go to the Mayo Clinic than in-state medical facilities. The medical facilities in Iowa provide the same services that the Mayo Clinic does. This is costing insurers a lot of money and Jackson made the effort to encourage Iowans to recognize the low cost care offered in Iowa. There is no additional premium for those traveling to the Mayo Clinic, the Chicago Tribune said. Those who want to travel to Mayo for medical care think that there should be no additional charge.

White House Creates a New Way to Connect to the American People

The Obama Administration has created a program called "Advise the Advisor," which connects the public with people working inside the executive branch, techPresident said. The program can be though of as a "direct line to the White House." It was launched in order to inform the American people of important issues being tackled by the government. The Obama administration is using the online world to connect to the people. Each week, presidential advisers will post a video that talks about an important issue, and anybody can post feedback and comment on the video. They will then post another response video later in the week that addresses the major concerns. The videos will focus on the major issues Administration officials are working on, the blog fedscoop said.

Taiwan General Arrested For Spying For China

Maj. Gen. Lo Hsieh-che was arrested on Jan. 25. for suspicious activity including spying for China, The New York Times said. The Ministry of National Defense discovered this activity and released a statement saying that he was sought out to spy for China sometime between 2002-2005. China has the ability to defend its rule over Taiwan. The Taiwanese defense ministry said in an online statement that they must increase their awareness of spies. Gen Lo is the highest ranking officer that has been involved in an espionage case like this in decades, BBC News said. His home was raided and authorities recovered documents related to the Po Sheng defence system that Taiwan is purchasing from US. It was explained that the general should not have had access to US-related information in the first place, so the leak was not connected to US intelligence.

The article contains many different sources and each quotation is followed by the speaker's full name. There are three attributions in total and they are all all opinion based. The attributions are from speakers who state their reactions to the situation. Their statements are negative, focusing on how the situation is in fact animal cruelty. The writer does a good job spacing out the attributions and the first is placed right before the police's mutual thoughts on the situation. They flow throughout the article, which keeps it interesting.

Woman Demands Puppy Back After Trying to Send Through the Mail

After trying to send her puppy through the mail, a Minneapolis woman is now demanding its return, the Star Tribune said. Minneapolis authorities classified the situation as animal cruelty. She tried to mail her puppy to Atlanta and has been charged with misdemeanor, the insider source examiner.com said. The puppy was four months old and most likely would have died if it had been sent in the airplane's unheated cargo hold.

More Jobs Lost, Less Opening Up

The unemployment rate has dropped 9% in January and new job openings have failed to open up, The Washington Post said. Only 36,000 new jobs have been created, which is significantly lower than the 145,000 economists have predicted. Trying to view the unemployment rate in a positive light, it has in fact decreased from the 9.4% rate in December and the 9.8% in November, the blog TIME said. The jobs recently added also does not match up to the 121,000 added in December.

Advertisers Focusing on a New Audience for Super Bowl Promotions

Advertisers will spend about $3 million per 30 seconds of ad time for the Super Bowl this Sunday, USA Today said. Advertisers are also establishing an extreme emphasis on advertising through social networking sites. Their goal is to expose their ads to an audience even larger than the already 100 million watching the Fox telecast. Ads can be seen on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, through viewers' phones, computers, and iPads. Advertisers are using these social networking sites to spread this new media to an online audience. Most advertisers present their ads on these social networking sites before the actual advertisement airs on television, social and digital media news website Mashable said. Companies like Frito-Lay started promoting their Super Bowl contests and ads through social networking sites as early as September.

Google and Twitter Submit Statements from Egypt

A service called SpeaktoTweet was created Monday by Google, Twitter, and SayNow. The program allows the people involved in Egypt's crisis to make a phone call to an international number stating what was actually going on over there. The voice messages then get directly get submitted to the Twitter account @speak2tweet. Many tweets have been submitted and this is allows their voices to be heard, even during the blackout. The messages are automatically sent to Twitter, which establishes a gateway to distribute information even though all internet connection in Egypt was disconnected, the blog Global Voices said. Hosni Mubarak disconnected all internet connection and SayNow allows the people of Egypt to communicate with the world, the blog Computerworld said. The service is free and the Tweets have been rapidly coming in.

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