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article imageTopFinds: From Coffin Girl Pin-Ups to CIA Cover-Ups

By David Silverberg     Dec 7, 2007 in Internet
New eBay scams. Why religion shouldn't hold hands with politics. The CIA destroying interrogation videos. Pin-up models who posed to sell coffins. These are the top news stories from around the world.

Technology & Internet

Tasers have been above the fold in many publications this past month, and it's no different on momentsintime told us that Tasers are now going wireless, but they still pack that electro-shock punch. Expect the wireless Tasers to hit the market in mid-2008.
Several other tech and Internet stories made headlines this week: residents of London, England, can now find public toilets in their neighbourhood with a new text-messaging loo-spotting service, Fortunesfool wrote; watch out for a new eBay phishing scam called hijacking, Ringwraith warned; a popular file-sharing website posted O.J. Simpson's book in its entirety, prompting legal action from Goldman's lawyers, pajamadeen wrote; and one of the most hilarious rants on an oft-overlooked tech subject (cellphone books) came courtesy of Wanderlaugh, who concluded: "The cellphone causeth ye publishers to forsake their Vows Of Illiteracy and Spiritual Eunuchry, in the name of pure and chaste profit."


Did George Bush lie about Iran's nuclear capabailities? It's a question at the heart of lensman67's article on the National Intelligence Estimate report, which found that the Iranian weapons program was mothballed in 2003 (there's also more coverage, in op-ed form, found here). This is a momentous article that charges the Bush administration was mistaken about Iran and illustrates how complicit world media have been in reporting on Iran and its war-driven leader. There were a lot of Iran stories this week, so if you're looking to get caught-up on this topic you can see a range of articles here, here, here and here.
Many political stories are worth another look, including: the possibility of a alternative minimum tax and its implications on all taxpayers, Susan Duclos found; the Schreiber affair is not hurting the Canadian party in power, permafrog wrote; Paul Wolfowitz returned to the Bush front corps once again, S.H. Mills discovered (this guy has more lives than a cat!); Bush wants to cut funding from national emergency services, according to Amaranth; and Snooper sparked a deluge of comments with an op-ed equating liberalism with defeatism.
Miss March sits beside a coffin for sale. The site uses models to sell coffins. - ...
Miss March sits beside a coffin for sale. The site uses models to sell coffins. - Photo courtesy Cofanifunebri Funereal Parlour


An intriguing crime drama is playing out between U.S. and Brazil, in light of a woman accused of murdering her husband and fleeing to Brazil to avoid extradition. Amaranth admitted she wrote the article because she hopes the murdered husband's family's "wishes will be heard and more people will ask their representatives in Congress to do something."
Other stories around the world you should bookmark included: Hugo Chavez didn't win the hearts of Venezuelans with his attempt to extend his time in office indefinitely, Fortunesfool wrote; the humanitarian plan to offer aid to Darfur in 2008 is estimated to cost $825 million, permafrog reported (and how much is the military bill again?); and ugly Argentinians get the spotlight in a quirky story by TFactor, who described an unattractive activist's goal to make the government recognize the less beautiful folks among us.
And in a category all by itself, Italian undertakers are promoting their coffins using sexy calendar girls posing beside the boxes of the dead. Talk about getting stiff.

TopFinds Awards

You can spot a Top New Citizen Journalist by looking for the telltale signs in a debut article: timely, thoroughly researched, informative head and intro, great sense of journalistic writing style. The article that exhibited such traits focused on recent Taser deaths sparking civil movements, written by DJ's latest star reporter, Mike Simmons. His follow-up piece also focused on a newsy issue -- the Golden Compass-in-schools fiasco -- and thus earned him a hallowed entry in the TopFinds Awards this week. Congrats!
It's always a pleasure to read an article so in-depth, it needs chapter headings to break apart the varying viewpoints. Not only was this week's winner of the TopJournalism Award chock full of insight and research, but it also shone a light on a story that barely got play in mainstream media. Give a hand to Sarawanan Ravindran for his award-winning piece on a gaming journalist who got fired to appease the publication's advertisers. Including various sources on the issue enriched the reading experience. It's that kind of intensive reporting, coupled with flowing transitions, that made this story stand out from the pack.
The separation of church and state is often on the minds of the electorate, and also on the mind of Fortunesfool, who takes home the TopOpEd Award for the article Religion has no place in politics. Fortunesfool penned a well-formed opinion piece sparked by Mitt Romney's assertion of his Mormon faith. But the piece went deeper than one candidate's statement, also expressing frustration at how many politicians prefer swaying voters with God or holiness. The op-ed can be summed up with this quote: "Religion does more to divide than unite."
Should the U.S. President freeze mortage rates? It's a question at the heart of the winner of this week's TopBusiness Award, written by the always curious Wanderlaugh. The plan would lead to half a million Americans losing their homes, and Wanderlaugh paints a sorrowful picture of the bleeding banks and worried homeowners. It's worth a read to find out how the U.S. economy is facing troubled times, whether its borrowing habits deserve it or not.
Poor CIA. Always enduring headlines that read how it did this or than transgression, how it illegally coerced this or that suspect. Its bum is in the fire again thanks to an investigation into how it destroyed tapes of prison interrogations, as reported by PTBartman, who takes home the TopPolitics Award for this revealing article. The Citizen Journalist brought up many issues that must surely be on the minds of concerned citizens critical of the U.S. goverment's strong-arm techniques. PTBartman wrote:
Questions must be raised on whether or not the destruction of the tapes were an attempt by the agency, and by inference the beleaguered Bush administration, to cover up illegal activities, influence criminal defense, or stonewall governmental investigations and oversight.
The winner of the TopTech Award should also be a winner for any Facebook member, considering the topic: how Facebook is facing flak over its ad privacy controversy. clixy123 expertly summed up the complaints many advertisers had about Facebook's Beacon application, which tracks user activies online and offline. By culling multiple sources and quotes into the piece, clixy123 turned the article into more than just a news report but a feature-length piece on Facebook's detractors and their call for action. Well done, and we wonder if this is the last we'll hear of Facebook's Beacon. We doubt it.
Earth's tropical areas are spreading farther than expected, but is global warming the culprit? Find out the answer by reading an article focusing on this explosive news, which wins this week's TopScience Award. Written by Bart B. Van Bockstaele, the article clearly explained what scientists have found -- an increase of tropical areas -- and its potential harm (more tropics can actually increase the effects of global warming). As Bart wrote, the consequences of this trend is difficult to pretend but it will likely be unpleasant. Perhaps Al Gore should consider a tropics-focused An Inconvenient Truth 2?

The Annual Digital Journal Awards is currently working on a massive, year-end roundup of the top news stories and top contributors from around the world. staff will publish this in the last week of December, 2007.
In addition to staff-chosen awards, we are opening up the Digital Journal Awards to include a number of people's choice awards. We would really appreciate all Citizen Journalists, Citizens and casual readers to take a moment to fill out the following survey (it takes a few minutes) with whatever information you wish to provide.
Click Here to take survey
Thank you all for your input.
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