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The news, by any means necessary

The handwritten edition of the Ishinomaki Hibi Shimbun from March 12, 2011. (via Newsmuseum)

As newsprint gives way to online media, one Japanese daily reverted to an even more old-fashioned publishing approach in a time of crisis: delivering information via pen and paper.

After last month’s earthquake and tsunami left the city of Ishinomaki in ruins and without power, staff members of the Ishinomaki Hibi Shimbun handwrote the newspaper by flashlight for six days, reporting on rescue efforts and fatalities and hanging the posters at local relief centers. Washington, D.C.’s Newseum has since acquired seven of the handwritten editions for its collection of historic newspapers.
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The Upper Big Branch explosion: one year later

A wreath and a list of the 29 miners who died at the Upper Big Branch coal mine explosion are placed at the state coal miners' memorial on the first anniversary of the explosion Tuesday, April 5, 2011 in Charleston, W. Va. Photo: AP/Jeff Gentner

On April 5, 2010, a year ago today, the Upper Big Branch mine in Montcoal, W. Va., blew up, killing 29 miners in the largest U.S. mining disaster in some 40 years. Need to Know reported on the Upper Big Branch mine explosion last December. Since that report, there have been several developments regarding the investigation into the cause of the explosion; the mine’s parent company, Massey Energy; and the families of the miners who were killed that day.

Don Blankenship announced his retirement as CEO of Massey Energy on December 3, 2010. Blankenship, a powerful and controversial figure in the coal business, walked away with an enviable golden parachute: On the day he left the job, Blankenship received $2 million and is scheduled to receive another $10 million on July 1, 2011. He will also be paid a $5,000-a-month retainer fee, plus expenses, for the next two years.

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Give pit bulls a chance says animal-rescue advocate

Many former homeless animals in the New York tri-state region are now beloved pets thanks to Dori Scofield, the director of the Brookhaven Animal Shelter and Adoption Center, the largest municipal animal shelter in New York. The shelter houses up to 300 animals on any given day, and Scofield works tirelessly to find them all a home — no easy task considering that most of the dogs she has up for adoption are pit bulls. Irresponsible ownership combined with the breed’s bad reputation has resulted in a growing population of homeless pit bulls across the country.

I recently caught up with Scofield to find out more about pit bulls, shelters and Scofield’s novel approach to get these dogs adopted by loving families.
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Candid camera in Congress

All eyes — well, all wonky eyes — are on the House today where some Democrats are attempting to amend the estate-tax provision of the White House and Senate Republican tax compromise. But what if instead of watching the classic CSPAN angles (stationary shots of the Congressperson speaking or wide shots of the chamber), there were — gasp! — lawmaker reaction shots, close-ups and candid angles of the floor. The current staidness of the coverage is not all C-SPAN’s fault: Congress makes the rules about what can be shown and even owns the cameras in the chambers.
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Currency war… averted?

President Barack Obama listens to South Korea's President Lee Myung-bak during a joint press conference at the presidential Blue House in Seoul Thursday, Nov. 11, 2010, on the sidelines of the G20 summit. Photo: AP/Yonhap News Agency

When President Obama arrived in Seoul for the G20 Summit earlier this week, the Federal Reserve’s recently announced round of quantitative easing (see here, here & here for better explanations than we’re capable of) had increased the chattering about the possibility of a global currency war.

The Council on Foreign Relations Sebastian Mallaby wrote last week, “quantitative easing will test the world’s commitment to an open international economy… the United States has lost its moral authority to broker currency peace.”

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The most valuable blog?

Well, we all know the Daily Need may be the most valuable in terms of content, but what about when it comes to dollars and cents?

Graphic: Win Rosenfeld

The financial blog calculated the 25 most valuable blogs in terms of cash value on the market. It seems that humor, politics, gossip and sports are really worth something in the blogosphere.  Here are a few examples that show the range of valuations:  Talking Points Memo is ranked #21 with a value of $5 million dollars, while Will Ferrell’s comedy site Funny or Die at #9 is valued at $24 million. The Drudge Report is ranked at #3 and worth $50 million, and way ahead of the pack at # 1, worth  $240 million, is the Gawker network.

But I found #5 really the most interesting. It is a blog devoted entirely to one company. Macrumors is all about Apple. That’s it. While the site is ranked #5 on the list and worth $37 million, the company it blogs about exclusively is worth about $208 billion.

Monday morning roundup


Japan and the United Kingdom have followed up on a U.S. State Department advisory warning travelers of potential terrorist plots in Europe, issuing their own alerts cautioning visitors to France, Germany and other European nations. The ambiguous warnings don’t provide much information, and they don’t seem to have slowed the rate of travel to Europe. [CSM, AHN, Detroit Free Press, AP]

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Friday morning roundup


Tensions between the U.S. and Pakistan continued to rise on Friday after 10 gunmen in the Pakistani town of Shikarpur shot and torched a convoy of more than 30 NATO vehicles carrying fuel and supplies for coalition forces in Afghanistan. The attack came as Pakistani officials closed off a crucial supply route through northwest Pakistan after U.S. air strikes in the region allegedly killed three Pakistani soldiers. [AP, The Washington Post]

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Thursday morning roundup

Kim Jong-un (left) seated with Kim Jong-il (right) at this week's meeting of the Workers' Party of Korea. Photo released by the Korean Central News Agency.


The Korean Central News Agency released the first-ever head-on photo of Kim Jong Eun, the presumed successor to his father, North Korean dear leader Kim Jong Il. That’s him in the lower-left hand corner.
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