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11:40 AM, March 7th, 2013

newsbeastlabs:

It was the Monday morning news meeting and all we could talk about was Dennis Rodman, Kim Jong-un, and Vice Media. It was the strangest story of the week, and utterly riveting. But there was more to it than what had already been reported.

The Vice show is funded by HBO, which is owned by Time Warner, which has a boatload of shareholders. Vice Media itself has a whole range of wealthy investors, including former Viacom CEO Tom Freston and The Raine Group, a who’s who of one-percenters. Meaning: a lot of people stand to benefit from the hospitality/propaganda machine of the one of the world’s most notorious dictators.

Reporter Caitlin Dickson started looking at the various connections, using LittleSis.org, an online database that tracks the social connections among the powerful—politicians, business leaders, lobbyists, hedge funders, etc. LittleSis is a project of the nonprofit Public Accountability Initiative and a great, easily-searchable, user-friendly source for reporters. You can search people and companies, find out how they’re connected to each other and to whom they donate money.

Check out the screenshot for an example, and the story for the final product. Caitlin was on deadline pressure so was only able to scrape the surface on the Vice story, but there’s no doubt much more to mine.

-Paula Szuchman, deputy managing editor

This is how our team followed the VICE/Dennis Rodman/North Korea money trail for this story.

Reblogged from NewsBeast Labs
2:48 PM, April 24th, 2012
Frontpage: Tuesday, April 24th (Late Edition)
James Murdoch Grilled on Emails: James Murdoch is sticking to his story that he never saw an incriminating email regarding phone hacking at News of the World until 2010. Speaking before the Leveson Inquiry into press standards, the former chairman of News Corp.’s British newspaper division insisted management told him the paper had a clean bill of health. 
North Korea Preps Nuke Test: North Korea has almost finished preparations for a third test of its nuclear capabilities, a source close to the operation has revealed. The news comes just weeks after another failed rocket launch that intensified hostilities between the impoverished regime and the United States. 
California to Vote on Death Penalty: One of the largest death rows in the United States may shut down if California voters approve a measure this November. The measure, which qualified for the ballot yesterday, would replace death with life in prison without parole as the state’s toughest penalty. More than 700 people on death row would have their sentences commuted. 
Feds File Charges in BP Oil Spill: Criminal charges have been filed against a former BP engineer who is accused of destroying evidence in the disastrous oil spill two years ago, the Justice Department announced Tuesday. 
Facebook Growth Slows: It looks like Facebook will enter its pre-IPO quiet period on a down note. The company’s profit in the last quarter was $205 million, down 32 percent from the fourth quarter of 2011 and down 12 percent from a year earlier. However, revenue was up 45 percent from a year earlier. 
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Photo: Ron Galella’s Greatest Hits: Ron Galella’s work is the subject of several books. His latest, Paparazzo Extraordinaire, which is out this month, includes some his most famous photographs, from Michael Jackson to Mick Jagger; Greta Garbo to Elizabeth Taylor to (pictured above) Jackie O. See more. 

Frontpage: Tuesday, April 24th (Late Edition)

  1. James Murdoch Grilled on EmailsJames Murdoch is sticking to his story that he never saw an incriminating email regarding phone hacking at News of the World until 2010. Speaking before the Leveson Inquiry into press standards, the former chairman of News Corp.’s British newspaper division insisted management told him the paper had a clean bill of health. 
  2. North Korea Preps Nuke Test: North Korea has almost finished preparations for a third test of its nuclear capabilities, a source close to the operation has revealed. The news comes just weeks after another failed rocket launch that intensified hostilities between the impoverished regime and the United States. 
  3. California to Vote on Death PenaltyOne of the largest death rows in the United States may shut down if California voters approve a measure this November. The measure, which qualified for the ballot yesterday, would replace death with life in prison without parole as the state’s toughest penalty. More than 700 people on death row would have their sentences commuted. 
  4. Feds File Charges in BP Oil Spill: Criminal charges have been filed against a former BP engineer who is accused of destroying evidence in the disastrous oil spill two years ago, the Justice Department announced Tuesday. 
  5. Facebook Growth Slows: It looks like Facebook will enter its pre-IPO quiet period on a down note. The company’s profit in the last quarter was $205 million, down 32 percent from the fourth quarter of 2011 and down 12 percent from a year earlier. However, revenue was up 45 percent from a year earlier. 

Photo: Ron Galella’s Greatest Hits: Ron Galella’s work is the subject of several books. His latest, Paparazzo Extraordinaire, which is out this month, includes some his most famous photographs, from Michael Jackson to Mick Jagger; Greta Garbo to Elizabeth Taylor to (pictured above) Jackie O. See more

12:38 PM, April 23rd, 2012

Frontpage: Monday, April 23rd

  1. Dutch Prime Minister Steps Down: Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and his cabinet tendered their resignations Monday as budget talks in the Netherlands fell through. Rutte and the Dutch Parliament will meet Tuesday to schedule new elections. 
  2. Zimmerman Released on $150K BailGeorge Zimmerman walked out of the Seminole County jail just after midnight Monday morning after posting $150,000 bail. Zimmerman put up $15,000 (10 percent) of the bail total to be released and was headed to an undisclosed location that could be outside of Florida. 
  3. Walmart Shares Fall on Bribery Probe: Walmart’s stock fell 3.1 percent in premarket trading Monday after a weekend New York Times article uncovered an internal investigation into bribery at the retailer’s Mexican operations. 
  4. Obama Embraces Executive Power: With Congress deadlocked, President Obama is increasingly resorting to executive orders and recess appointments to achieve his objectives. Last fall, after the summer’s debt-deal negotiations, Obama told aides they needed to do be more aggressive about executive power and coined the slogan “We can’t wait.”
  5. North Korea Promises to Turn Seoul to AshesNorth Korea’s rhetoric is becoming increasingly violent following its failed rocket launch. The country’s military threatened Monday to turn parts of Seoul to ashes using “special actions.” The actions, according to the military, “will reduce all … to ashes in three or four minutes … by unprecedented peculiar means and methods of our own style.” 

Photo: One year ago, photographer Tim Hetherington was killed by Gaddafi’s forces in Libya. These are his final images

7:27 PM, April 16th, 2012

Photo of the Day

Pyongyang, North Korea: North Koreans watch a fireworks display along the Taedong River to celebrate 100 years since the birth of the country’s late founder Kim Il-sung. (David Guttenfelder / AP Photo)

See more Photos of the Day

1:11 PM, April 13th, 2012

Frontpage: Friday, April 13th (It’s cool, we’ve got Cory Booker)

  1. Cory Booker Details Rescue: Newark Mayor Cory Booker joined the gang at CBS This Morning to recount his heroic rescue of a neighbor from her burning home. Booker describes his “come to Jesus moment” when, while searching for the woman, he realized there was a very good chance he might not make it out of the house. 
  2. Obama, Biden Release Tax ReturnsThe battle of the tax returns begins Friday, with President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden releasing theirs to the public and urging Mitt Romney to join them. The Obamas revealed that they earned a combined income of $798,674 in 2011, of which they paid over 20 percent in federal taxes—a total of $162,074. Their income took a big dip from last year, when they reported about $1.7 million.
  3. U.N.: Rocket Test ‘Deplorable’United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called North Korea’s failed rocket launch “deplorable,” joining South Korea, the U.S., Japan, and foreign ministers from the Group of Eight nations including Russia who united in condemnation of Kim Jong-un’s regime. North Korea had defied international warnings to conduct the test of a rocket. In a rare admission of weakness, the North Korean government issued a statement admitting the failure. 
  4. Iran Conceals Oil Sales: Iran is pulling some stealthy moves to circumvent Western sanctions on its oil revenues. Tehran ordered the captains of Iran’s 39-strong fleet of oil tanks to disable their tracking devices, so that the ships are now all “off-radar,” a senior executive at the National Iranian Tanker Co. confirmed to Reuters. 
  5. GOP Strategist: Ann Romney a ‘Win’: Republican strategist Nicolle Wallace said Friday that the Hilary Rosen-Ann Romney spat over stay-at-home mothers has been a “win in every regard” for the Romney campaign. “The Romney campaign has handled this brilliantly, and kudos to them,” said Wallace, a former adviser to John McCain and George W. Bush. 

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Photo: So the other day I breathlessly announced to the office that Boo the Dog had died. Thankfully, it was just a Buzzfeed prank. Happy Friday. 

guestofaguest:

Boo is ALIVE. thank heavens.

Reblogged from guest of a guest
11:23 AM, April 11th, 2012

Frontpage: Wednesday, April 11th

  1. North Korea Begins Fueling RocketNorth Korea could launch its rocket tomorrow, despite international objections and warnings. The hermit state said it is injecting fuel into its long-range rocket “as we speak,” meaning there is one more stage before it is ready to launch. 
  2. Foster Friess Goes to Romney: With Rick Santorum out, Foster Friess, the retired investor who spent almost $1.7 million on Santorum’s campaign, is getting behind Mitt Romney. “I’ve got some plans as to how I might be able to be of help,” said Friess.
  3. Massive Quake Strikes off Indonesia: An 8.6-magnitude quake has struck off the coast of Indonesia’s Aceh province, in the northwest, prompting tsunami warnings throughout the Indian Ocean, including Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and others. Within a few hours, the tsunami warning for most of the Indian Ocean had been lifted.
  4. Lenders Get Back Into Subprime CreditFirst the banks won’t lend, now they’re back to lending to risky borrowers. As banks look to make up for fee income barred by new regulations, they’ve gone back to offering loans and credit cards to borrowers with bad credit. Credit-card companies gave out 1.1 million new cards to borrowers with bad credit in December, up 12.3 percent from the month before.
  5. U.N.: Syria Will Respect Ceasefire: It’s hard to imagine what assurances Bashar al-Assad could give at this point, but United Nations envoy Kofi Annan says he’s received “further clarifications” from the Syrian leader and that he plans to abide by the peace plan. So far, Assad has responded to the peace plan by increasing attacks on the opposition, reportedly killing at least 100 people yesterday

Photo: North Koreans attend the inauguration of a mosaic portrait of Kim Jong-il. (Bobby Yip, Reuters / Landov) 

12:17 PM, April 9th, 2012

Frontpage: Monday, April 9th

  1. Syrian Fire Crosses Turkish BorderSyrian forces crossed more than one line when they exchanged fire with rebel forces in a clash that spilled over into Turkey. One person was killed and more injured at the Killis refugee camp on the Turkish side of the shared border. 
  2. North Korea Prepares Nuke TestSouth Korean intelligence officials warned that the North is preparing a nuclear weapons test to follow its controversial long-range missile test, according to reports Monday. 
  3. Microsoft Grabs AOL Patents for $1B: The technology world is in an arms race, and intellectual property is the weapon of choice. Microsoft bought its way toward the front of the pack Monday when it announced a deal with AOL that will give it 800 of AOL’s patents and license to 300 more, all for just slightly north of $1 billion. 
  4. Prosecutor Decides No Grand JuryThe special prosecutor tasked with deciding whether to press charges against the man who shot Trayvon Martin has decided not to hand the case to a grand jury. Special prosecutor Angela Corey will now decide whether or not to press charges against shooter George Zimmerman.
  5. Hillary Clinton to Skip DNCHillary Clinton has long been a stable figure at Democratic conventions—a consistent presence dating back to the infamous 1968 convention in Chicago, her spokesman pointed out. But the secretary of state is sitting out this year’s convention in North Carolina, as part of her commitment to avoiding political activity (she’s actually banned from taking part by federal law). 

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Photo: The Bosnia War 20 Years Later: Photos by Peter Turnley.

12:44 PM, March 27th, 2012

Frontpage: Tuesday, Mar 27th

  1. Syria Accepts U.N. Peace PlanInternational envoy Kofi Annan said Tuesday that Syria has accepted a U.N. ceasefire proposal, but that much remains to be done to implement the plan. “I indicated that I had received a response from the Syrian government and will be making it public today, which is positive, and we hope to work with them to translate it into action,” Annan told reporters in Beijing.
  2. Kennedy: Gov’t Has ‘Heavy Burden’: In the second day of oral arguments in the Supreme Court’s Obamacare case, Justice Anthony Kennedy told lawyers defending the law that the government as a “heavy burden of justification” to prove that the government can require citizens to purchase a service. 
  3. Al Jazeera Has Video of ShootingsAl Jazeera said on Monday that it had received video footage that appears to be of last week’s deadly attacks on a military base and a Jewish school in Toulouse. 
  4. North Korea Still Plans Missile Test: North Korea plans to roll the dice with its missile launch next month, despite stern warnings from President Obama and the international community to abandon the idea.
  5. Photo: Protesters demonstrating against the Affordable Care Act outside the Supreme Court on Monday, as the court begins hearing arguments against the law’s constitutionality. (Jacquelyn Martin / AP Photo) 

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10:27 AM, February 29th, 2012

Frontpage: Wednesday, Feb. 29th 

  1. North Korea Suspends Nuclear PlansAfter years of strained relations, the United States announced Wednesday that North Korea has agreed to place a moratorium on its nuclear ambitions, suspending uranium-enrichment programs and ceasing tests of long-range and nuclear missiles. 
  2. Romney Sweeps Arizona & Michigan: Does Mitt have his mojo back? Romney took home two important states in last night’s primaries, winning his boyhood home of Michigan by about 3 points (a small margin, but “enough,” he said) and scooping up Arizona.
  3. Murdoch Son Quits News Corp. Post: James Murdoch is giving up his position as executive chairman at News International, the newspaper arm of father Rupert’s media empire.
  4. Ohio Shooting 911 Tapes ReleasedOfficials in Chardon, Ohio, the site of a school shooting Monday that left three students dead and two wounded, released 911 tapes Tuesday night that recorded the panicked appeals for help of the students and staff inside Chardon High School.
  5. Hillary: Assad Could Be War CriminalWhile delegates at a United Nations meeting on Tuesday were told that more than 7,500 people have died in Syria since the uprising began in the country 11 months ago, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton told a Senate subcommittee that President Bashar al-Assad fits the definition of a war criminal.

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Photo: An activist of the opposition holds flowers as she sits in the police bus after a rally in Moscow. (Kirill Kudrayvtsev, AFP / Getty Images)

More photos of the day

10:25 AM, January 17th, 2012

Frontpage: Tuesday, Jan 17th

  1. Candidates Attack Romney, Each Other: Mitt emerged unscathed after last night’s debate in South Carolina and now enjoys a 2 to 1 lead in the polls over Gingrich and Paul.
  2. 5 More Bodies Found in Shipwreck: That brings the official death toll up to 11.
  3. U.S. to Force Docs to Reveal Lobbying: You may soon get to find out who your doctor is sponsored by. As part of the new health-care law, the Obama administration will require drug companies to reveal the payments they make to doctors for research, consulting, speaking, travel, and entertainment.
  4. Kim Jong-il’s Other Son Predicts Failure: Kim Jong-nam, the Supreme Leader’s half-brother, sees his brother failing, according to a new book due out in Japan this week. 
  5. Perry: SC ‘at War’: In response to a question about the Obama administration blocking South Carolina’s voter-identification law, Rick Perry said “South Carolina is at war with the federal government.”

Photo: Rescuers plucked three survivors from the Costa Concordia early Sunday, more than 24 hours after the cruise ship ran aground off the Italian coast. Five people have been confirmed dead but some are still unaccounted for. (Reuters / Landov)

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10:33 AM, December 30th, 2011

Frontpage: Friday, Dec. 30

  1. 250K Rally in Syria: An estimated 250,000 people protested across Syria on Friday against President Bashar al-Assad. Reports indicate that five people were killed when the government’s security forces shot at a crowd.  
  2. Romney: Obama’s Like Marie Antoinette: Obama’s characterization of the economy as “It could be worse” reminded the GOP candidate of Marie Antoinette’s famous line: “Let them eat cake.” 
  3. U.S. May Transfer Taliban Prisoner: In an effort to further a peace deal with the Afghan government, the Obama administration is considering transferring one Mohammed Fazi, a senior Taliban official, to Afghan custody. 
  4. North Korea Vows No Change: In the equivalent of telling the world community to talk to the hand, Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un said there’d be no changes to domestic or foreign policy.
  5. Romney Neck and Neck with Paul: New polls provide more evidence that Iowa is a two-man race, and that the Gingrich surge is over.

Photo: Dhampus, Nepal: A woman from the indigenous Gurung community combs her hair on her balcony as she prepares to attend a traditional New Year ceremony. Mt. Machapuchre is seen in the background. (Narendra Shrestha, EPA / Landov)

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    3:08 PM, December 19th, 2011

    Before cooking the rice, the kitchen staff would inspect each grain individually and discard any blemished by irregularities of shape or color. He ate only the choicest foods and loved the fatty cut of tuna known as toro. Sometimes Fujimoto would prepare sashimi using a trick he’d learned at Tsukiji, slicing so the vital organs were spared and the fish was served writhing on the platter.

    The way to understand a Dear Leader is apparently through his stomach

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