Society's ChildS


Mexican teachers union chief appears behind bars after arrest

Elba Esther Gordillo
© Juzgado Sexto de Distrito en Pro / Associated Press In this photo released by Mexico's federal court system, Elba Esther Gordillo appears for a hearing in Mexico City.
Elba Esther Gordillo, Mexico's powerful teachers union leader, appeared behind bars Wednesday in an unusual public display as authorities read the charges against her.

Gordillo, 68, was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of using more than $200 million in union funds for personal gain.

Gordillo stood in a plain white turtleneck with her hair pulled back, behind a grid of black metal bars, a standard court setup in Mexico. But its live airing on cable TV was unusual because such proceedings in Mexico are rarely accessible to the public. When they have been aired, judicial reform activists have criticized them as unfairly incriminating a suspect.

Gordillo lifted her eyes toward the ceiling and sighed briefly as the charges were read. She is accused of misusing funds belonging to the National Syndicate of Education Workers, or SNTE, for real estate, designer goods, artwork and plastic surgery.

Gordillo, who is considered "president for life" of the teachers union, was arrested Tuesday as she arrived at the airport in Toluca, west of Mexico City, along with three aides.


Central Michigan University set to host 'STD Bingo' as part of 'condom casino' night

The Condom Casino promises to be a "highly interactive" program "arousing college campuses around the country."
Central Michigan University (CMU) will host a "Condom Casino" on Wednesday night, in which students can gamble to win condoms in games such as "5 Card Foreplay Poker" and "STD Bingo."

"Experience what happens when a casino night, speed dating and the topic of sex combine for a provocative night of prizes and awareness," the official website for the event reads.

CMU has outsourced the event to a private company, which apparently puts on the "Condom Casino Tour" across the country. It is not clear if the individuals employed by the organization possess any special medical credentials to discuss matters of sexual health with students.

The organization describes the Condom Casino as a "brand new program arousing college campuses across the country."

The program also promises to be "highly interactive" and advertises to attendees "it is fun, it is fast paced, it is full of surprises and it is certainly a safe bet to sex awareness on any campus!"

In a video, a spokesman for the Condom Casino Tour says organizers aim to avoid the sensitive subject of morality in their programming.


Panic in Greek pharmacies as hundreds of medicines run short

Pharmaceutical companies accused of cutting supplies because of low profits and unpaid bills.
© John Kolesidis/ReutersA woman gestures at the state health fund office in Athens. Chemists say patients have been going from pharmacy to pharmacy in search of prescription drugs.
Athens - Greece is facing a serious shortage of medicines amid claims that pharmaceutical multinationals have halted shipments to the country because of the economic crisis and concerns that the drugs will be exported by middlemen because prices are higher in other European countries.

Hundreds of drugs are in short supply and the situation is getting worse, according to the Greek drug regulator. The government has drawn up a list of more than 50 pharmaceutical companies it accuses of halting or planning to halt supplies because of low prices in the country.

More than 200 medicinal products are affected, including treatments for arthritis, hepatitis C and hypertension, cholesterol-lowering agents, antipsychotics, antibiotics, anaesthetics and immunomodulators used to treat bowel disease.

Separately, it was announced on Tuesday that the Swiss Red Cross was slashing its supply of donor blood to Greece because it had not paid its bills on time.

Chemists in Athens describe chaotic scenes with desperate customers going from pharmacy to pharmacy to look for prescription drugs that hospitals could no longer dispense.


Bellagio dealer sues after she was severely slashed on face in casino

© The Associated PressBrenda Stokes Wilson appears in Clark County Justice Court, Friday, Dec. 28, 2012, in Las Vegas.
Las Vegas - Joyce Rhone didn't see the attack coming -- and certainly not at a blackjack table at the vaunted Bellagio Hotel and Casino, her attorney said. But in a scene that shocked onlookers, fellow Bellagio employee Brenda Stokes is accused of attempted murder in a box-cutter attack on Rhone. Stokes allegedly used two razors and repeatedly slashed the victim's face with cuts so deep to her cheek that they revealed Rhone's teeth.

Now a lawyer representing Rhone in the December attack has filed a civil lawsuit against the Bellagio, claiming that the casino's security force failed to ensure "that its property was reasonably safe and to render aid to" Rhone.

Stokes, who is also a blackjack dealer at the Bellagio, came to the casino on her day off, a company violation, the suit says. Even though several security workers saw her before the attack, she was not asked to leave the premises, the suit claims.

"It's bad enough that the victim was slashed," Rhone's lawyer, Harold Gewerter, told the Los Angeles Times. "What happened afterward was even worse."

The lawsuit claims that no one from the Bellagio's staff came to help Rhone, and that she was saved by a casino patron who finally stepped in to stop Stokes' attack.

"If not for the intervention of a patron who wrestled [the attacker] to the ground, Plaintiff Rhone most assuredly would have lost her life," the lawsuit claims.

Stokes, 50, who remains in custody, has been indicted in the attack on Rhone and in the stabbing death of 10-year-old Jade Morris, her fiance's daughter.

Eye 2

Cannibal cop trial: Many emails in case seen as 'fantasy', FBI agent testifies

Gilberto Valle
Gilberto Valle
An agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation testified on Wednesday that emails prosecutors alleged showed a New York City police officer planned to kidnap, kill and eat women mirrored scores of other online communications that he and other FBI officials deemed the stuff of fantasy.

Officer Gilberto Valle, 28 years old, who has been suspended from the police force, has pleaded not guilty to a count of conspiracy to kidnap in the case in Manhattan federal court. None of the alleged plots were carried out, and Mr. Valle's attorneys have said he was a fetishist who was merely fantasizing in cyberspace.

Under questioning by Mr. Valle's attorney Robert Baum, FBI agent Corey Walsh also said many of the names and photographs of women whom authorities have said were the subjects of the kidnapping conspiracy were also mentioned in emails the FBI determined were fantasy.

Mr. Walsh spent parts of Wednesday and the previous day reading graphic chats and emails he said Mr. Valle had engaged in last year with three others. Those are Mike Van Hise, a 22-year-old New Jersey man who also has pleaded not guilty in the conspiracy; and two co-conspirators the FBI said it hasn't been able to identify except by their email names - Moody Blues and Aly Khan.

In one of those communications read by Agent Walsh, Mr. Valle offered to deliver his wife to India so Aly Khan could kill and cook her.

"Would the feet be edible," Mr. Valle asked, according to Mr. Walsh.

"Yes, feet soup will be good and nutritious even," Aly Khan wrote back, the agent said.


Colorado transgender girl can't use school bathroom

© The Associated PressCoy Mathis sits with a book at her home in Fountain, Colo., Monday Feb. 25, 2013.
Fountain, Colorado - At first, Jeremy and Kathryn Mathis didn't think much of their son's behavior. Coy took his sister's pink blanket, and shunned the car they gave him for Christmas.

Then, Coy told them he only wanted to wear girls' clothes. At school, he became upset when his teacher insisted he line up with the boys. All the while, he was becoming depressed and withdrawn, telling his parents at one point he wanted to get "fixed" by doctors.

When the Mathises learned he had gender identity disorder - a condition in which someone identifies as the opposite gender - they decided to help Coy live as a girl. And suddenly, she came out of her shell.

"We could force her to be somebody she wasn't, but it would end up being more damaging to her emotionally and to us because we would lose the relationship with her," Kathryn Mathis said. "She was discussing things like surgery and things like that before and she's not now, so obviously we've done something positive."

Now, her family is locked in a legal battle with the school district in Fountain, a town 82 miles south of Denver, over where Coy, 6, should go to use the bathroom - the girls' or, as school officials suggest, one in the teachers' lounge or another in the nurse's office. Her parents say using anything other than the girls' bathroom could stigmatize her, and open her up to bullying.

Arrow Up

30 Victoria homeless deaths in 4 months draw inquest calls

homeless, poverty
© CBC News
Canada, British Columbia - An anti-poverty group in Victoria wants the regional coroner to hold an inquest into 30 deaths among the city's street population over the past four months.

While the causes of death range from pneumonia to overdose to suicide, the Poverty Law Club at the University of Victoria says the number of deaths has tripled since the same time last year.

Yanni Pappas-Acreman says an inquest could help find ways to prevent poverty-related deaths in the future.

"It is within their power to conduct any inquest that's been reported to them on a class of deaths such as this that are related if it is in the public interest, and we think it is in the public interest," she said.

"What we would hope to get out of it would be more information about the causes of death, but more importantly, recommendations leading from those facts."


Westerners are not culturally representative of the world

© Mark Mcginnis
In the summer of 1995, a young graduate student in anthropology at UCLA named Joe Henrich traveled to Peru to carry out some fieldwork among the Machiguenga, an indigenous people who live north of Machu Picchu in the Amazon basin. The Machiguenga had traditionally been horticulturalists who lived in single-family, thatch-roofed houses in small hamlets composed of clusters of extended families. For sustenance, they relied on local game and produce from small-scale farming. They shared with their kin but rarely traded with outside groups.

While the setting was fairly typical for an anthropologist, Henrich's research was not. Rather than practice traditional ethnography, he decided to run a behavioral experiment that had been developed by economists. Henrich used a "game" - along the lines of the famous prisoner's dilemma - to see whether isolated cultures shared with the West the same basic instinct for fairness. In doing so, Henrich expected to confirm one of the foundational assumptions underlying such experiments, and indeed underpinning the entire fields of economics and psychology: that humans all share the same cognitive machinery - the same evolved rational and psychological hardwiring.

The test that Henrich introduced to the Machiguenga was called the ultimatum game. The rules are simple: in each game there are two players who remain anonymous to each other. The first player is given an amount of money, say $100, and told that he has to offer some of the cash, in an amount of his choosing, to the other subject. The second player can accept or refuse the split. But there's a hitch: players know that if the recipient refuses the offer, both leave empty-handed. North Americans, who are the most common subjects for such experiments, usually offer a 50-50 split when on the giving end. When on the receiving end, they show an eagerness to punish the other player for uneven splits at their own expense. In short, Americans show the tendency to be equitable with strangers - and to punish those who are not.

Heart - Black

'Disabled children cost too much and should be put down': Calls for councillor to stand down after outrageous rant

 Councillor Collin Brewer's remarks were described as 'depraved' but he is refusing to quit
© DailyMail
Councillor Collin Brewer's remarks were described as 'depraved' but he is refusing to quit
A councillor who told charity workers that disabled children should be put down is defying calls for him to quit.

Collin Brewer, 68, declared that such youngsters were a drain on society.

Though he has apologised and now admits his comments were 'ill-judged and insensitive', Mr Brewer refused to stand down last night.

He had just emerged from a council meeting when he walked up to a stall set up in county hall run by the Disability Cornwall charity.

Charity member Theresa Court explained to him how the group helps parents of children with special educational needs.

But he responded by saying: 'Disabled children cost the council too much money and should be put down.'

Mrs Court said the 'depraved' comment left her feeling horrified and the charity complained to the council's standards committee.

Mr Brewer said he made his comments because he was 'hot under the collar' following a long meeting and was trying to 'provoke a reaction'.

The standards committee told Mr Brewer, an independent councillor for 25 years, to apologise and he has written to the charity.

He said at his home yesterday: 'We had had a difficult morning deciding on budget and job cuts. I listened to one of the ladies on the Disability Cornwall stall and came out with the comment. If only I had not said that.

Black Cat 2

Blaming the victim! University of North Carolina may expel rape victim for "intimidating" her rapist

Landen Gambill, a sophomore at the University of North Carolina, is being sent to the school's "Honor Court" for speaking publicly about her rape. Officials at the school are saying that Gambill is being "disruptive" and might be "intimidating" her rapist by exposing the details of when she was sexually assaulted. Gambill has not publicly indentified her rapist.

It is possible that the court could expel her.

Gambill was one of three students to support a former UNC dean's accusations that the university intentionally under-reported sexual assaults. According to Think Progress, UNC has probably sent Gambill to Honor Court as revenge.

When talking about UNC's system for addressing sexual assault accusations, Gambill said: "[They] were not only offensive and inappropriate, but they were so victim-blaming... They made it seem like my assault was completely my fault."