Society's ChildS


Mexico police ticket 6-year-old boy, impound his toy motorcycle after crash with SUV

© EFEGael Santiago, 6, watches with his mother Karla Noriega, after receiving a traffic ticket for hitting an SUV with his toy motorcycle.
Police in this border city repented Thursday over ticketing a 6-year-old boy for reckless driving, driving without a license and not having his vehicle registered after he drove his miniature motorcycle into an SUV.

The boy's mother, Karla Noriega, said police impounded the miniature gasoline-powered motorbike that her son got for Christmas after he crashed into an SUV on Dec. 27.

Noriega decided to go to the media and make the case public after finding out she would have to pay what she called a "ridiculous" $183 in fines to recover the toy motorbike.

City council Secretary Hector Arceluz said Thursday that authorities had dropped the fines, released the motorbike and would punish the police officers for having acted improperly.

Noriega's son Gael was happy to get his minibike back, but said it no longer works after the accident.

Source: The Canadian Press


French Parents Win Case Over Son's 'Demonic' Name

© unknown
A court in France on Thursday rejected a prosecutors' request for a couple to be barred from naming their son Daemon after a character in television series The Vampire Diaries.

Prosecutors had brought Lionel and Blandine Defontaine, from Busigny in northern France, to court under a French law that prevents parents from giving names that would be "contrary to the interests of a child".

The parents, both fans of the series, had chosen to name their son, born on November 3, after the vampire character Damon -- adding the "e" to produce a French version of the name.

They said they simply liked the sound of the name and denied it had any Satanic connotation.

The same law had previously been used in 1999 to try to prevent parents Alain and Sophia Renaud from naming their daughter Megane, with prosecutors saying the name sounded too much like that of a popular French car, the Renault Megane.

An appeals court in 2000 allowed the girl to keep her name.

Heart - Black

US: Millionaire CEO breaks waiter's finger for "bad service"


Excuse me, waiter. There is a fractured proximal phalanx bone in my soup.

A wealthy CEO is finding himself in hot water after he allegedly snapped at his waiter while dining at a swanky Florida county club - and then snapped the server's finger until it broke.

John Castle, the 76-year-old CEO of the Castle Harlan equity firm, could be facing charges after a waiter at the posh Palm Beach, Florida establishment Club Colette made claims that Castle went berserk after he brought him the check.

Bizarro Earth

US: Parents Furious Over Apparent Use Of 'Scream Rooms' Inside Elementary School

Farm Hill Elementary School
© CBS 2Farm Hill Elementary School
Middletown, Conn. - Parents in a Connecticut suburb are outraged over disturbing disciplinary actions at a local elementary school.

They claim students are being locked in unsupervised "scream rooms," where some children have harmed themselves, reports CBS 2's Hazel Sanchez.

The Middleton School District is on the hot seat as furious parents are demanding to know what's going on behind closed doors at Farm Hill Elementary School.

"My daughter is telling me that there's kids being taken out in ambulances, by stretcher," parent Sean Archer told CBS 2's Hazel Sanchez on Wednesday.

Disturbing allegations have surfaced of teachers locking students in closet-sized concrete "scream rooms" for punishment.

"Kids come home and they cry, because they're afraid to go to school. And it's often," parent Brian Robillard said.

Star of David

EU on Verge of Abandoning Hope for a Viable Palestinian State

Palestinians wait to pass a checkpoint
© EPAPalestinians wait to pass a checkpoint outside the West Bank city of Ramallah.
Israel's foreign ministry denied that Israeli settlers were taking water resources from the West Bank.

The Palestinian presence in the largest part of the occupied West Bank - has been, "continuously undermined" by Israel in ways that are "closing the window" on a two-state solution, according to an internal EU report seen by The Independent.

The report, approved by top Brussels officials, argues that EU support, including for a wide range of building projects, is now needed to protect the rights of "ever more isolated" Palestinians in "Area C", a sector that includes all 124 Jewish settlements - illegal in international law - and which is under direct Israeli control. It comprises 62 per cent of the West Bank, including the "most fertile and resource rich land".

With the number of Jewish settlers now at more than double the shrinking Palestinian population in the largely rural area, the report warns bluntly that, "if current trends are not stopped and reversed, the establishment of a viable Palestinian state within pre-1967 borders seem more remote than ever".


US: Principal Charged After Hypnotizing Students Who Committed Suicide

students being hypnotized
© William Thomas Cain/Getty Images
North Port, Florida- North Port police have charged the town's high school principal with two counts of second-degree criminal misdemeanors after students he hypnotized ended up committing suicide.

Over six months, the North Port Police Department conducted around 70 interviews with students claiming to have been hypnotized by Dr. George Kenney and 100 adults either from among the school's staff or parent community after receiving a complaint from the Florida Department of Health Services.

In documents provided to CBS Tampa detailing the Sarasota School Department's internal investigation, Kenney routinely hypnotized students in one-on-one sessions and in group settings. They often involved the school athletics teams or ROTC programs.

Kenney told investigators it allowed students to relax, improved their performance in tests and helped some with anger issues.

Documents show, however, that Kenney occasionally raised tempers and eyebrows within the school's community.


Killer Seeds: The Devastating Impacts of Monsanto's Genetically Modified Seeds in India

gm crop biohazard sign
© n/a
Monsanto's operation in India illustrates monopolization and manipulation of the market economy, tradition, technology, and misgovernance. The world's largest producer of genetically engineered seeds has been selling genetically modified (GM) in India for the last decade to benefit the Indian farmers - or so the company claims.

In a country of more than 550 million farmers who are largely poor and uneducated and the agriculture market rife with inefficient business practices, the Indian government sought to reform the market by eliminating subsidies and loans to the farmers.

The government reform did not help the farmers. With pressure from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Indian government has "forced market liberalization on India which means the elimination of government subsidies and government-backed loans to farmers."

Enter Monsanto with its "magic" GM seeds to transform the lives of the poor Indian farmers.

The U.S. agri-business giant took full advantage of its entry into the Indian market. It entered into an agreement with state governments including Rajasthan and Andhara Pradesh to introduce a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that dictated the terms of disseminating the GM technology in Indian market.


Canada: Harper's legal about-face on gay marriage

gay marriage
© Mario Anzuoni/Reuters
The Harper government has served notice that thousands of same-sex couples who flocked to Canada from abroad since 2004 to get married are not legally wed.

But speaking in Halifax Thursday, the Prime Minister said the issue was not on the agenda for his majority Conservatives. "We have no intention of further re-opening or opening this issue," Stephen Harper told reporters when asked about The Globe and Mail's report.

The reversal of federal policy is revealed in a document filed in a Toronto test case launched recently by a lesbian couple seeking a divorce. Wed in Toronto in 2005, the couple have been told they cannot divorce because they were never really married - a Department of Justice lawyer says their marriage is not legal in Canada since they could not have lawfully wed in Florida or England, where the two partners reside.

"In terms of the specifics of the story this morning, I will admit to you that I am not aware of the details," Mr. Harper said. "This I gather is a case before the courts where Canadian lawyers have taken a particular position based on the law and I will be asking officials to provide me more details"


China: Foxconn Workers Threaten Suicide in Pay Dispute

Chinese Workers
© Minyanville

Foxconn, the Chinese maker of parts for companies like Apple, Amazon, Sony, Dell and Dow Jones components Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard, is once again back in the news, and it's deja vu all over again.

Almost a year ago, Minyanville's Justin Rohrlich took a look at the controversial working conditions at Foxconn's mammoth factory in Shenzhen, a city in southern China. So bad were the conditions that 32 employees attempted suicide in 2010, with 14 of them succeeding. In response, Foxconn raised wages by one-third to 1,200 yuan and even established an in-house counseling service.

However, it seems like either things have not improved much at the electronics-making behemoth or workers at the firm have learnt that threatening suicide is a sure-fire way to get what they want because some 150 workers at Foxconn's plant in Wuhan, southern China threatened to stage a mass suicide on Jan. 3 in protest over a plan to move workers from one unit to another in the Wuhan campus.

The latest in a series of long-running labor disputes arose after Foxconn announced last week that it would shut down the production line for Microsoft's Xbox 360 consoles at the Wuhan campus and transfer workers affected to another job.

Bad Guys

In 6-5 decision, Israeli court rules against citizenship for Palestinians married to Israelis

Mohammed and Lana Khatib and their two children
© swilliamsjd.wordpress.comMohammed and Lana Khatib and their two children

Mixed Palestinian-Israeli families that have been in limbo since the Israeli legislature passed an 'emergency, security measure' in 2003 will remain in limbo for the foreseeable future, after the Israeli High Court on Wednesday rejected a petition that would allow these families to stay together.

Israel's controversial 'Citizenship Law' provides for the naturalization of any person of Jewish descent to become an Israeli citizen (known as the 'Law of Return'). The law also includes provisions that make it difficult for non-Jews to be naturalized as Israeli citizens. Until 2003, non-Jewish people (including Palestinians) who were married to Israeli citizens could go through a process to become citizens.

But the Israeli Knesset passed a measure in 2003 banning Palestinians married to Israelis from obtaining Israeli citizenship. The measure was called a temporary security law allegedly meant to prevent Palestinian fighters from entering Israel to carry out attacks. It has remained in place in the nine years since, and there are no plans in the Knesset to revoke the law.