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December 7, 2008

Analysis of CAR

Mexico Under Siege, an ongoing story from theLos Angeles Times Web site, is an example of Computer-assisted reporting.

This multimedia presentation features an interactive map, multimedia gallery, question and answers section and a substantial list of links to related stories.

Computers have played a significant role in the creation of this story. Without them, the eye-catching and moving graphics would not be possible. Someone had to possess the skills to create such graphics, as well as update them as the ongoing story unfolds.

For example, if someone else were to die in relation to the story, the ticker counting the numbers of death would have to be increased. Also, the interactive map and the corresponding graph would need to be updated.

The map is an example of the extensive research that has been done on this topic. A computer was likely used in order to categorize and determine the cities in which drug related death occurred.

Without the use of computer software, it would be extremely time consuming and difficult to determine and accurately represent the exact number and location of all 6,836 deaths over the past two years.

Cruise Shipped Stranded Near Antarctica

CNN reported Thursday that a cruise ship carrying 122 people struck ice and was stranded on the coast of Antarctica.

A naval boat and plane were dispatched to evacuate the passengers, 89 passengers and 33 crew members, of the Ushuaia as a precaution Mariano Memolli of the Argentina Antarctic Directorate said.

Television C5N reported that the ship was losing fuel and taking on water but was not in danger of sinking.

Adm. Daniel Martin, head of the naval base in Ushuaia, Argentina, said the passengers were "in a perfect state of health," and were awaiting the arrival of a nearby cruise ship.

According to a National Geographic News report , the ship was stranded in the same spot where a ship sank in 2007.

All the passengers and crew were rescued Friday from the ship by the Chilean Navy. All were in good condition.

The ship stills appear to not be in danger of sinking. The Chilean navy did position a ship near the now-abandoned Ushuaia in an attempt to prevent any environmental damage from leaking fuel.

A boom in Antarctic tourism may be an "accident waiting to happen," Jon Bowermaster, a National Geographic Expeditions Council grantee and writer, told National Geographic News in 2007.

Wal-Mart Employee Killed in Black Friday Rush

CNN reported that a temporary Wal-Mart employee was trampled to death Nov. 28 by a crowd of early morning shoppers as he and other employees attempted to unlock the doors at a Long Island store, police said.

The Seattle Times reported that the victim, Dimytai Damour, 34, died by asphyxiation.

"This was utter chaos as these men tried to open the door this morning," Nassau County police Detective Lt. Michael Fleming said.

According to Fleming, "several minutes" passed before others were able to reach Damour and attempt to help him. When police arrived, Fleming said the officers were also "jostled and pushed."

Damour was taken by ambulance to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

A cellphone video of the incident has been placed on Youtube. The video shows a police officer crouching by the victim man near the entrance of the Wal-Mart. Shoppers can be seen peering through the glass, some making jokes and laughing at the situation.

Hecker Released From Hospital

Denny Hecker, a local auto dealership owner, has been released from the hospital Friday following a car accident ,the Star Tribune reported.

Hecker crashed his 2008 Range Rover in Plymouth on County Road 6, west of Hwy. 101 at approximately 8:15 p.m. Wednesday.

The crash remains under investigation. Police have declined to answer questions regarding alcohol and drug tests, as well as whether or not Hecker was wearing his seat belt.

Tim Thornton, Hecker's attorney, said Hecker was heading home from his headquarters at the time of the crash. He was only a block from his home.

In a Pioneer Press report on the crash, Hecker's spokesman had said Thursday that his injuries from a car crash Wednesday night are "extensive enough to require hospitalization, but not anything that's been characterized as life threatening."

Last month, Hecker sued Chrysler Finance, accusing it of wrongfully pulling funding. A week later, Hecker closed six dealerships and sold three others.

Local Couple Aboard Ship Targeted by Pirates

The Pioneer Press reported that a Minnesota couple was aboard the cruise ship attacked by pirates Nov. 30 in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia.

Charles and Loretta Sprado, of Sandstone, Minn., were on the ship when two small pirates skiffs came racing towards the ship. The pirates fired eight shots at the crusie liner before the ship fired two flares in return and outran the pirate ships.

"It's pretty incredible that that happened," Amy Prose, Sprados' daughter, said. "The rest of the trip has been very enjoyable and fun for them."

Prose received an e-mail from her parents the day of the incident.

The e-mail started with "Today, we had a run-in with pirates," before going on to explain the day's events.

"That was just scary," Heidi Sprado, a daughter-in-law of the couple, said. "Now I know they're safe. It's kind of a nerve-racking trip."

According to an Associated Press report, the ship was carrying 656 international passengers and 399 crew members.

All passengers and crew are safe and there was no damage to the vessel, a statement from the cruise liner company said.

Skater Falls Through Thin Ice

An ice skater was pulled from Medicine Lake in Plymouth Thursday the Star Tribune reported.

The skater, whose identity has not been released by authorities, was taken to North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale. The man was not responsive to resuscitation attempts and had no pulse.

The skater was found in open water at approximately 2 p.m. after a fellow skater spotted a hat floating in the water and called police, the Hennepin County Sheriff's Water Patrol reported.

According to a WCCO report, the man's condition is currently unknown. Authorities are unclear how long the man was in the water.

The man, who was wearing ice skates and a camera around his neck, is believed to be an out of town visitor, Sgt. Chris Mathisen of the Sheriff's Department said.

Mathisen reported that the area of the lake where the man was found had open water Saturday night that froze overnight. The overnight snowfall may have made the ice appear thicker.

The Star Tribune ran a story Tuesday warning locals to take ice thickness into consideration before venturing out onto the partial frozen lakes.

In that report, officials urged fishermen to use caution.

"Anglers are still advised to exercise extreme caution when traveling on the ice,'' Duke Broughten, a conservation officer for the Department of Natural Resources, said.