Society's ChildS


Hysteria! Elementary school boys suspended for pointing pencils and making machine gun noises

Two 7-year-old Virginia boys were suspended from elementary school for playing a game of make-believe in which they pointed pencils at each other, pretending that they were machine guns.

Christopher Marshall, a second grader at Driver Elementary School in Suffolk, Virginia, was sent home and suspended for two days for making machine gun noises while pointing a pencil at his classmate, who was also suspended. A teacher noticed the two boys making the noises, and proceeded to pull them out of the classroom and take them to the principal's office on May 3.

"I got a call from Christopher's school at 12:30 on Friday," one boy's mother, 34-year-old Wendy Marshall, told Yahoo! Shine. "His teacher told me that Christopher and his friend were playing with pencils, making machine gun and 'bang bang' noises. I asked if they were pointing the pencils at anyone else, if they were angry or hostile, disrupting class, or refused to stop when asked -- and the teacher said no."

Paul Marshall, the boy's father, told Fox 43 that his son was simply pretending to be a Marine, like he was for many years. Both parents believe the school overreacted in suspending their child for two days, and refused to punish him for it.

Black Cat

Rampaging logging contractor flattens neighbour's house

© AP
A logging contractor from Seattle took neighbourly score-settling to a new level when he jumped into his bulldozer and demolished two houses, flattened a pickup truck and snapped an electricity pole, causing power-cuts for a 20 mile radius.

Neighbours in Port Angeles, a small town of 19,000 people situated on the coast 80 miles northwest of Seattle said that a long-running boundary dispute was behind the rampage.

Local police said that Barry Swegle, 51, was being held on suspicion of "malicious mischief in the first degree" after allegedly firing up his luminous-orange International Harvester TD-25 bulldozer with 'skidder' attachment and setting to work.

Aerial pictures showed that one property had been ripped clean off its foundations and shunted several hundred feet into a neighbouring plot. Remarkably, police said no one was injured in the wrecking spree.


Twin car bombs kill at least 43 in Turkey near Syrian border

 car bombs turkey
© AP/IHATwin car bombs killed 43 people and wounded many more in a Turkish town near the Syrian border on Saturday
Twin car bombs killed 43 people and wounded many more in a Turkish town near the Syrian border on Saturday and the government said it suspected Syrian involvement.

The bombing increased fears that Syria's civil war was dragging in neighboring states despite renewed diplomatic moves towards ending two years of fighting in which more than 70,000 people have been killed.

The bombs ripped into crowded streets near Reyhanli's shopping district in the early afternoon, scattering concrete blocks and smashing cars in the town in Turkey's southern Hatay province, home to thousands of Syrian refugees.

Restaurants and cafes were destroyed and body parts were strewn across the streets. The damage went at least three blocks deep from the site of the blasts.

President Bashar al-Assad's government was the "usual suspect", Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said.


Ohio jurors shown key video of dying man's blinks

© Hamilton County Sheriff's OfficeDavid Chandler, left, identified his alleged shooter, 34-year-old Ricardo Woods, right, through a series of eye blinks while he was paralyzed.
Captivated jurors in a Cincinnati murder trial watched video Tuesday that prosecutors say shows a dying, paralyzed shooting victim who couldn't speak identifying a photo of his killer by blinking his eyes.

Over the unsuccessful and repeated objections of defense attorneys, prosecutors showed the jury a 17-minute video of shooting victim David Chandler, 35, in which he answers detectives' questions by blinking twice to say "no" and three times for "yes."

Ricardo Woods, 35, is charged with Chandler's October 2010 murder and has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors say that in the video, Chandler clearly identifies Woods as his attacker, while Woods' attorneys argue that his blinks were inconsistent and unreliable. The video is considered the key piece of evidence in the trial. Jurors will have to determine whether Chandler appears alert and knew what he was doing when he said "yes" to Woods' photo.

In the video, police have to repeat some questions when Chandler fails to respond or when the number of times he blinks is unclear.

Bizarro Earth

Married, but living apart

Highly Unorthodox Arrangement Is Growing In Popularity Among Americans

You fall in love, get married, and move into separate homes?

Believe it or not, such an arrangement is growing in popularity with couples who say living apart is what's keeping them together, CBS 2's Maurice DuBois reported Tuesday night.

"We decided right away that we were going to keep our own places," Allen Sheinman said.

Sheinman and his wife, Collette Stallone, wanted to get married, but neither wanted to give up their Manhattan apartments, so they didn't.

"What it would mean is that we could be married and still feel like we're dating," Sheinman said, "and it actually wasn't a bad way to go."

The same was true for Lisa Haisha. She lives in one home, and her husband of seven years lives a few blocks away.

"We want to be the wind beneath each other's wings, not clip each other's wings," Haisha said.

Eye 2

Cleveland kidnapping victim delivered baby in kiddie pool

© FacebookAriel Castro, seen here in this undated photo, has been accused of kidnapping and raping three women who'd been missing for a decade.
Inside the dungeon-like basement of alleged kidnapper Ariel Castro, the Cleveland man reportedly raped his three victims for a decade, caused one woman to abort five pregnancies by punching her in the gut, and required a second victim to deliver his baby in a plastic kiddie pool.

The women, individually abducted a decade ago, were kept bound by chains in the home's cellar until their "spirits were broken" and they were allowed access to the rest of the house, a police official told ABC News.

A decade of torment ended on Monday when the women escaped, and charges today were brought against Castro, 52, including four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape, prosecutors said.

Castro's two brothers, Onil Castro, 50, and Pedro Castro, 54, who were arrested with him, were not charged, officials said.

"There is nothing that leads us to believe that they were involved or they had any knowledge of this," Cleveland Police Deputy Chief Ed Tomba told reporters.

Ariel Castro is expected to be arraigned in a county court on Thursday. Following a grand jury hearing, Castro may face additional charges, Cleveland Chief Assistant Prosecutor Victor Perez said.

All three women -- Michelle Knight, 32, Gina DeJesus, 23, and Amanda Berry, 27 -- were abducted within miles of each other between 2002 and 2004.

Eye 2

Reports of sex abuse, beatings inside Cleveland house

© Cleveland Dept. of Public SafetyAriel Castro is shown in a booking photo by the Cleveland Department of Public Safety following his arrest Monday in connection with allegedly abducting three women for up to a decade and holding them captive in his Cleveland house.
Three young women are back with their families for the first time in almost a decade

Three young women, reunited with their families for the first time in nearly a decade, were talking to investigators Tuesday about their life in captivity amid reports that the women were forced to endure years of sexual abuse and beatings inside a rundown house on Cleveland's west side.

Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight bolted to freedom Monday after Berry's screams alerted a neighbor who helped her break free.

Police have arrested three brothers, Ariel Castro, 52, the owner of the house and a former Cleveland school bus driver; Pedro Castro, 54; and Onil Castro, 50, in connection with the alleged abductions.

A law enforcement official told USA Today there is evidence that the victims were held in chains during at least part of their captivity.
The official, who is not authorized to comment publicly, did not elaborate on other conditions of their confinement or whether they were ever moved from the home.

Khalid Samad, a former assistant safety director for the city, said law enforcement officials told him that the women were beaten while pregnant, with unborn children not surviving, and that a dungeon of sorts with chains was in the home. Samad, who works with a crime prevention non-profit group, said he saw the women at the hospital Monday night.

Heart - Black

Jodi Arias guilty of first-degree murder; death penalty possible

Jodi Arias: I'd prefer death penalty
After months of twists and turns in a dramatic trial rife with sex, lies and digital images, an Arizona jury Wednesday found Jodi Arias guilty of first-degree murder in the slaying of ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander.

Jurors will return to court Thursday for the aggravation phase of the trial -- an important step in the next key decision they face: determining whether Arias lives or dies.

"Now the odds, I think, shift somewhat in her favor, because it's a very different thing to sentence someone to die than to convict them," CNN senior legal analyst Jeffery Toobin said.

In a television interview minutes after the verdict was announced, Arias said she'd prefer a death sentence.

"I said years ago that I'd rather get death than life, and that still is true today," she told Phoenix television station KSAZ. "I believe death is the ultimate freedom, so I'd rather just have my freedom as soon as I can get it."

The comments prompted authorities to place Arias on suicide watch in an Arizona jail, according to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.

"Until she is released from suicide protocol by Sheriff's officials no further media interviews of inmate Arias will be permitted," the office said in a statement.


Amanda Berry: Three captive women chained up in grim dungeon for a decade gave birth to five babies

© APAmanda (top right) with her sister. Below right - Amanda as a teen and Gina DeJesus
Gina DeJesus, 23, Michelle Knight, 30, and Amanda Berry, 26, and her six-year-old daughter fled the house in Cleveland, Ohio

Three women held captive in a dungeon for a decade gave birth to five babies during the ordeal.

Gina DeJesus, 23, Michelle Knight, 30, and Amanda Berry, 26 , and her six-year-old daughter fled the house in Cleveland, Ohio.

Ariel Castro, 52, and his two brothers have been arrested.

Frantic Amanda choked back tears as she told police "I'm free" after she escaped the dungeon.

Amanda fled the hell-hole thanks to a hero neighbour before her dramatic 911 call ended the victims' ordeal .

It had been feared that Amanda and the other captives - Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight - had been murdered.

After escaping the house on Monday just three miles from where they each went missing between 2002 and 2004, they named their captor as 52-year-old Ariel Castro, who tonight was in custody with his two brothers.

The women, who were aged between 14 and 22 when they disappeared, spent today in hospital before being given the all-clear by doctors and returning to their overwhelmed families.


Don't blame consumers for the Bangladeshi factory disaster - blame multi-nationals

Ever since the disaster at the Rana Plaza textile factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh, some commentators have been trying to guilt-trip cash-strapped western consumers for the terrible conditions of workers in Bangladesh's Ready-Made Garment (RMG) sector, where wages are as low as £27 a month.

We've been told that our insatiable desire for cheap clothing is what keeps wages down, and working conditions so poor that factory fires are endemic and corners cut so badly that buildings collapse, as Rana Plaza did.

But we think cash-strapped consumers aren't the problem, and the TUC have researched and published a quick graphic to explain:
Bangladesh workers