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April 20, 2008

Chelsea Clinton Gets Rave Review During Gay Bar Crawl

Chelsea Clinton won rave reviews from members of the gay community Friday night, reported msnbc.

Clinton was reported to have been mobbed by local gays and lesbians in Philadelphia during a bar crawl, who hugged an kissed Clinton, with some exclaiming they loved her. Getting from one event to another during the night proved difficult at times, as she was constantly stopped by admirers while walking down the sidewalk, reported msnbc.

“I grabbed her ass,? one young woman exclaimed to her friends after snapping a picture with Clinton, reported msnbc.

Msnbc also reported even Obama supporters at a bar stop tried to snap pictures of the former first daughter.

In all, she visited four bars in Center City, concluding her tour at Woody’s, the city’s most famous gay bar.

UN Criticizes Treatment of Refugees Seeking Asylum in Greece

The United Nations refugee agancy has advised European Union countries to stop sending asylum seekers to Greece, until further notice. This request is a condemnation on behalf of the United Nations, who have been concerned for some time on the treatment of people fleeing conflict and persecution in Greece, reported the New York Times.

However, the New York Times reported refugee lawyers are concerned the request will result in Greece's neighbors to the union taking even tougher measures to push people away at borders since it puts a "disproportionate" burden on the countries like Greece, Italy, and Spain.

The New York Times reported, the refugee agency described Greece’s recognition rate for refugees as “disturbingly low.? The overall protection rate for refugees of all nationalities in 2006 was 1 percent in Greece, compared with 24 percent in Britain, 45 percent in Italy, 19 percent in Spain and 50 percent in Sweden.

The Greek interior minister, Prokopis Pavlopoulos, called the agency’s criticism “not only unfair but unfounded,? reported the New York Times.

April 18, 2008

Pope Meets With Clergy Sex Abuse Victims

Both the New York Times and the AP reported posted at myway.com reported Pope benedict XVI came face to face with victims of clergy sex abuse in a Washington chapel Thursday, and prayed with them. An extraordinary gesture from a pontiff who has made atoning for the great shame of the U.S. church the cornerstone of his first papal trip to America, wrote the AP reporter.

The Rev. Federico Lombardi, a papal spokesman, said that Benedict and Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley, who the New York Times reported had given the pope a notebook listing about 1,000 victims, met with a group of five or six clergy sex abuse victims for about 25 minutes, offering them encouragement and hope.

“It was a moving experience,? Cardinal O’Malley told reporters afterward reported the New York Times. “It was very positive and very prayerful.?

"They prayed together. Also, each of them had their own individual time with the Holy Father," Lombardi told the AP. "Some were in tears."

The New York Times reported the reactions of the victims and ther advocates varied, some did not think it was enough while others praised the meeting.

Lombardi said it was believed to be the first-ever such session between a pope and abuse victims, according to the AP report.

The pope has called the clergy sex crisis a cause of "deep shame," and has pledged to keep pedophiles out of the priesthood, decrying the "enormous pain" that communities have suffered from the "gravely imoral behavior" by some priests, reported the AP.

The New York Times article features perspective of victims, who saw the pope and attempted to. To see their stories in the New York Times article click here.

April 17, 2008

Murderer of a Minneapolis Woman found 2 Years Later

A Faitrbault man was charged Thursday in the death of a south Minneapolis woman whose beaten body was found in a ditch near Northfield in 2005, reported The Star Tribune and the Pioneer Press.

Antonio Medina, 33, was charged with second-degree intentional murder in the death of Laura Lynn DeMeules, 33, on Nov. 6, 2005.

The leading evidence against Medina were fingernail clippings collected after he was convicted in Hennepin County of a felony drunken driving charge and his routine DNA samples were submitted, it was reported

In January, his profile matched that of an unknown DNA sample found on a fingernail clipping taken from DeMeules' body, the Star Tribune reported.

Both papers reported Medina's bail is set at $1 million.

When investigators interviewed Medina in February, he admitted picking up a woman on Lake Street that night who looked like a picture of DeMeules that police showed him., both papers reported. He said he was drunk and high on crack or cocaine, reported the Star Tribune.

The Pioneer Press reported the complaint reads: "The defendant said that for an unknown reason the female started arguing with him and that she was 'freaking out.' The defendant said he pinned her down and he killed her in the truck."

The victim's father, Duane DeMeules, told the Star Tribune he thanks God they have found his daughter murder and is happy with the amount bail was set at since it will prevent Medina from getting out.

"Now I don't have to worry anymore [that] this person could get ahold of somebody and the same kind of thing happens," he said.

Frightened Victims Call 911 while SUV sinks into St. Coix River

In follow up articles Wednesday, the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press reported on the coditions of the 4 people riding in a SUV , who plunged into the St. Croix River Sunday.

The Pioneer Press gave a brief update on the conditions of the individuals.

According two the Pioneer Press, Kalaiselvi Vijayakumar, 25, was still listed in critical condition at Regions Hospital in St. Paul; Deepa Vellusamy, 25, remained in serious condition, as of Wednsday. Rohini Krishnamurthy, 27, of Minneapolis, died Tuesday afternoon at Regions; Mohanraj Pothiraj, 28, of Edina, died Monday morning. The official cause of death for both was complications from hypothermia and near drowning, said Don Gorrie, a spokesman for the Ramsey County medical examiner's office, the paper reported.

The Star Tribune feature a more in-depth article but reported the death toll at only one, Pothiraj, the driver of the car. The Star Tribune focused on the story of the 911 calls placed while the car was sinking.

Pothiraj called the Washington dispatcher, panicked and begging someone to rescue them, a little before, 10 p.m., the Tribune reported.

"I'm going to die in here," Pothiraj finally said, seconds before the Washington County dispatcher heard pounding and then lost phone contact the Tribune reported.

The Tribune reported that according to the 911 transcript released Monday Pothiraj also told the dispathcher. "We don't know swimming," And then crying said, "Yeah, our car is going to sink now." Toward the end of the six-minute call he said, "We are going to drown."

A women in the vehicle placed another 911 call after, and minutes after the vehicle sank Stlllwater police and rescurs were on the scene to get the passengers out of the car, the Tribune reported.

To read the entire Star Tribune article, which includes the story of the rescuers, click here

April 13, 2008

Diversity

"In the Projects, Hope and Hard Knocks." By Emily Brady for the New York Times.

This article printed in the New York Times Sunday which focused on the Cypress Hill area in the projects of New York.

The article opened with - "IN 1991, the high crime rate at the Cypress Hills Houses in East New York, Brooklyn, made it the perfect setting for Mayor David Dinkins to announce a crackdown on illegal guns. It was a little too perfect, in fact. As the mayor spoke, shots rang out a block and a half away. People in the crowd screamed, some started to run and others ducked for cover. No one was injured, but the story added another chapter to the rough reputation of Cypress Hills."

The point of the article was to move passed the stereotype and expored what is whas like to live in Cypress Hill from the perspective of members of the community like the mayor, as senior citizen, a mother, and a teenage boy.

"Everybody wants to live in a good neighborhood,? the article reported Efrain Garcia, a 19-year-old who lives in Cypress Hill said. “It’s the American Dream,? he said.

This quote, along with a number of others help bring character to the story and move past the satistics and danger that plague the projects.

In addition, the story gives descriptions of the characters and the enviorment, allowing the reader to visualize the story and connect to it.

Obama acknowledges comments about working class ill-chosen

Barack Obama is on the defensive after he conceded yesterday the comments he made about bitter working-class voters who "cling to guns or religion" were ill-chosen reported bothe the Boston Globe and The New York Times.

Obama Saturday was forced to fight back accusations from his rivals that he had displayed a profound misunderstanding of small-town values, in a flare-up that left him on the defensive before a series of primaries that could test his ability to win over white voters in economically distressed communities, reported the New York Times.

"I didn't say it as well as I should have," both papers quoted Obama as saying at Ball State University. The Boston Globe went on to explain he said he meant that voters in places that had been losing jobs for years expressed their anxiety at the polls by focusing on cultural and social issues like gun laws and immigration.

Both papers touched on Hillary Clinton, his Democratic rivals reaction to his comments. Clinton hit Obama with her most pinted criticism to date said the Boston Globe.

"Senator Obama's remarks were elitist and out of touch," she said, campaigning about an hour away in Indianapolis, reported the Boston Globe. "They are not reflective of the values and beliefs of Americans." The New York Times also focused on Clintons statement Obama's views did not reflect the value and beliefs of citizens.

Both newspaper's focused on Clinton's reaction. However, The New York Times's article took an angle focusing on Clinton's reaction, while the The Boston Globe put more focus on Obama's campaigns damage control.

There has been a small "political flare-up because I said something that everybody knows is true, which is that there are a whole bunch of folks in small towns in Pennsylvania, in towns right here in Indiana, in my hometown in Illinois, who are bitter," Obama said yesterday morning at a town hall-style meeting at the university reported Th Boston Globe. "They are angry. They feel like they have been left behind. They feel like nobody is paying attention to what they're going through."

The boston Globe when on to report Obama said,"So I said, well you know, when you're bitter you turn to what you can count on. So people, they vote about guns, or they take comfort from their faith and their family and their community. And they get mad about illegal immigrants who are coming over to this country."

Iraq Dismisses 1,300 Soldiers and Policemen

The Iraqi government has dismissed 1,300 soldiers and policemen who deserted or refused to fight during last month's Shiite-on-Shiite battles in Barsa reported the New York Times Sunday.

Maj. Gen. Abdul-Karim Khalaf, an Interior Ministry spokesman, said 500 soldiers and 421 policemen were fired in Basra, including 37 senior police officers up to the rank of brigadier general according to the paper. It was also reported police officials said the remainder were fired in Kut.

The Basra campaign was widely criticized, reported the paper, as poorly planned since it failed to disarm Shilite militias, but America and Iraqi officials are reported to have said the arrival of security forces in larger numbers has restored the streets vital to the Iraq's oil industry.

The Mahdi Army and the government security forces dominated by Mr. Sadr’s most powerful Shiite rival, the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq are reported to be the two Shiite forces pitted against each other and their clash has spilled over into the Iraqi capital, particualarily in Sadr's stronghold, reported the Times, which is surrounded with both Iraqi and American soldiers.

To see the NY Times article click here.


Pregnant Teens Drink Spiked with Abortion Pill

A Pennsylvania teenage girl was the victim of an attempt of forced abortion when her drink was spiked with a drug normally used to abort pregnancies in cows reported a Pennsylvania local paper and the website LifeNews.com.

Both medias reported whoever tainted the drink between 7 a.m. and 4p.m. March 31 at Williamsburg High School is still at large, and both state and local officials are looking for the culprit.

Authorities are considering the crime an aggravated assault against both the girl and her unborn child reported the website and Pennsylvania's Centre Daily Times.

Officials told the news agency a drug and syringe were reported stolen from a farm in Huston Township, according to both medias.

The investigation was still ongoing as of Sunday, reported the Centre Daily Times.

Minnesota Superdelegate Backs Obama

One of the last uncomitted Democratic superdelegatesfor Minnesota has decided to back Barack Obama , said to the Obama campaign Friday and reported the Star Tribune and the Pioneer Press.

Nancy Larson, a democratic National Committee memeber is reported by bothe papers to have told the Associated Press after many hours spent talking to both campiagns and others she has decided to back Obama because she believes he will bring new people into the political process and has the best chance of winning in the November elections.

"It's looking more and more that the one person who can do it is Barack Obama," both papers reported Larson said.

Larson is one of nine superdelegates supporting Obama. Three are backing Clinton reports the papers.

U.S. Representative Collin Peterson is reported to be the only uncomitted superdelegate from the state.

Former Gopher Football Player Found Not Guilty of Rape Charge

The Minnesota Daily and The Star Tribune reported former University of Minnesota football player Dominic Jones was acquited of third-degree sexual assault charges Friday afternoon.

The former Gopher player, was found guilty of fourth-degree assault charges, according to the verdict.

Jones will be sentenced on May 29, the charge carries a presumed sentence of 24 months "stayed." That means he would not have to serve it unless he violated his probation reported the Star Tribune.

Defense attorney Earl Gray told the Star Tribune Jones could face a year in jail, but would likely get work release and be out sooner. He would have to register as a sex offender, the paper reported, but the Minnesota Daily reported the defense attorney said Jones is going to appeal the charge.

"I think it's a victory for him," defense attorney Earl Gray said to the Minnesota Daily.

Jones refused to comment to the Star Tribune, citing he need to catch up on his studies. The Star Tribune reported Jones has missed school since jury selection began March 31, but is on track to graduate in the fall with a degree in sociology.

April 6, 2008

Numbers

"Obama’s Support Softens in Poll, Suggesting a Peak Has Passed" By Adam Nagourney and Megan Thee for the New York Times.

In an article Friday the New York Times reported Senator Barack Obama’s support among Democrats nationally has softened over the last month, particularly among men and upper-income voters, as voters have taken a slightly less positive view of him than they did after his burst of victories in February, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll. The article used alot of numbers from the poll data to tell the story in a straight forward an direct fashion.

An example paragraph from the article:
"Mr. Obama’s lead among men has disappeared during that period. In February, 67 percent of men wanted the party to nominate him compared with 28 percent for Mrs. Clinton. Now 47 percent back him, compared with 42 percent for her, a difference within the poll’s margin of error. Similarly, his lead has shrunk among whites, voters making more than $50,000 annually and voters under age 45."

Multiple numbers are used within this paragraph but they all support a similar context and work to tell a clear story. In my opinion the use of numbers is easy to grasp, however I could see how some would have difficulty. It may have been beneficial to break the information into seperate paragraphs and set a maximum of numbers used in a paragraph at two.

For example the paragraph could instead read, "Obama's lead among men has dissapeared during that period. Since February Obama's has lost men in his party's support by 20 percentage points, while Clinton has gained almost as much in support.

Now 47 percent back him, compared with 42 percent for her, a difference within the poll’s margin of error.

Similarly, his lead has shrunk among whites, voters making more than $50,000 annually and voters under age 45."

Overall, the numbers are used effectively, and without the exact results the reporters were given it is unclear how much number crunching was involved, but it appears their was good math reporting being done.

All numbers appear to be taken from the poll. No outside sources appear to have been used.

Charleton Heston dead at 84

Charelton Heston, an epic film star and voice of the National Rifle Association died Saturday night at home in Beverly Hills, Calif. He was 84. (The New York Times in their original article said he was 83).

The man who was known for his "monumental, jut-jawed" potrayals of Moses, ben-Hur and Michelangelo was diagnosed with nuerological sysmtoms consistent with Alzheimer's disease in 2002, but itis unconfirmed what caused Heston's death.

Heston was a fighter all the way up to his death. "I'm neither giving up or giving in," the New York Times reported he said.

Heston's acting career took off in 1956 when he stared as a Moses to remeber in three and half hours long movie, "The Ten Commandments."

Throughout his life Heston became known as a great actor and starred in many other classics and hits, Including "Touch of Evil," in which he played a Mexican narcotics officer, "Planet of the Apes," in which he played an astornaut marooned on a desolute planet, "the Agony and the Ecstacy," in which he plays Michelangelo, and "Ben-Hur, in which he played the prince of ancient Judea who rebels against the rule of Rome. "Ben-Hur" went on to win the record number of Academy Awards at that time- 11, including best actor for Heston.

Heston was also known as a staunch opponent of guncontrol and effective spokesman for the National Rifle Association, which he was elected president of in 1998. In Mr. Heston, the N.R.A. found its embodiment of pioneer values — pride, independence and valor, the New York Times said.

To see Heston's obituary in the New York Times click here.

If you're ruthless... blame it on genetics!

Nature News reported selfish dictators may be able to attrubute their behavior partly to genes, according to a study by researchers at Hebrew University in Jerusalem which claims to have found a genetic link to ruthlessness. "The study might help to explain the money-grabbing tendencies of those with a Machiavellian streak- from national dictators down to 'little Hitlers' found in workplaces the world over," the article said.

The University found a link between a gene called AVPR1a and ruthless behavior via an exercise called the 'Dictator Game,' where players are allowed to behave selfishly or selflessly.

It is unknown reported Nature news how the gene influences behavior, but it may mean that the old adage "it is better to give than to receive" isn't true according to Richard Ebstein, a team leader for the research. The reward centres in the brains of those who acted selfishly may derive less pleasure from seemingly altrustic acts, he suggested according to the report.

To see the entire article at the Nature News website click here.

Wheelchair bandit gets away

A man in a wheelchair robs a bank. Sounds like a bizarre plot in a comedy- but it's true.

The Associated Press reported police from a Palo Alto, Calif. are looking for a bank robber who's getaway vehicle was an electric wheelchair. According to the AP police said an elderly man with gray hair and a beard held up a Wachovia Bank Branch at a local shopping center Thursday afternoon armed with a black handgun.

The man was last seen wheeling down a street and headed toards a major thoroughfare said the AP.

Reports on witness accounts indicated the man's leg were wrapped in bandages and his right leg was sticking straight out when he left. It was unclear investigators told the AP as of Friday if the wheelchair was a prop or whether the suspect is truely disabled.

A van may have been involved.

A local paper, The Mercury News, reported today the search for the "wheelchair bandit" is still ongoing and a police sketch has been released.

Everyone's doing it and that's the problem?

The Star Tribune reported Saturday a recent study found that 25 percent of 14- to 19-year-old on a national level have at least one of the four common sexually transmitted diseases and Minnesota's "enlighted" soulution is to push more sex education, counseling and treatment.

The Minnesota Legislature has recently considered more tax-funded initiatives such as a $1.3 million bill for screening and public education, reported the Tribune.

However, Katherine Kersten of the Tribune said in a article Saturday the real reason for the epidemic is being ignored- too many children are having sex too soon.

"Try mentioning this at your next dinner party or parents meeting at school, and watch the eyes roll. What 1950s TV rerun are you living in? Sure, a little abstinence education never hurt anyone, the common wisdom goes, but we all know -- wink, wink -- that kids are going to 'do it'," she wrote.

The article focused on the myths of youth sex. For example, the liberation of sex is often a untrue cliche for youth and that young women are as eager to have sex as men.

The article cites the expierences of Shalom Ross, an 18-year-old freshman at the University of Minnesota, who has chosen abstinence and claims the adults placed in authority of her education are undercutting her and other young people who have "opted for sexual-discipline and true love." She says the safe sex message to students has an underlying message that sex is inevitable.

Kersten article also highlighted unnamed research that has confirmed premarital sex puts young women at significant risk, not only for pregnancy and STDs, but also related problems like infertility and emotional risks. The apparently opinionated Ross said one of the emotional risks is "the feeling of worthlessness that comes from being around the block a few times."

An interesting finding of the article was monogmous married women were the most sexually satisfied according to Kersten. The findings of this research were not given, but if true could show that the most erotic sex might be sex with commitment.

To see Kern's entire article click here.

I-94 Bus Crash Kills 1

The AP Press reported a bus carrying students and their chaperones home from a band trip to Chicago rolled over on Minnesota highway, I-94, Saturday killing one student and injurying dozens of others on board according to authorities.

Forty-seven people were on the bus traveling westbound 30 miles outside of Minneapolis when at shortly before 6 a.m. it rolled and slid into a ditch, said State Patrol dispatcher Tom Aspling to the AP.

The Star Tribune reported 43 students, four chaperones, a tour director and the driver were on board.

The bus was one of two carrying band students from Pelican Rapids High School on an all-night trip home from a four-day cultural tour of Chicago said the Star Tribune.

Tenth-grader Jessica Weishair was killed and two students were left in critical condition as of Saturday night the Star Tribune reported.

Rescuers spent hours prying students out of the wreckage. Some who were pinned under the bus or thrown from it were taken by ambulance and helicopter to nearby hospitals. The westbound lanes of I-94 in that area were closed all morning the paper reported.

This was the second Minnesota bus crash this year.