Welcome to Sott.net
Sat, 05 Dec 2020
The World for People who Think

Society's Child
Map

X

US teacher on leave as school investigates student accounts that 2nd graders had oral sex

Markham Elementary
© The Associated Press/Marcio Jose Sanchez
The exterior of Markham Elementary School is seen in Oakland, Calif., Friday, Jan. 21, 2011. A second-grade teacher in the Oakland school has been placed on leave while the school investigates reports that students engaged in oral sex and stripped off some of their clothes during class.
Oakland, California - A second-grade teacher in California was placed on leave while a school and police investigate accounts by students that classmates engaged in oral sex and stripped off some of their clothes during class, officials said Friday.

The investigation was under way at Markham Elementary School in Oakland, where the principal notified parents of the situation in a letter Thursday.

We believe if the reports are true, there was a serious lapse of judgment or lack of supervision in the classroom," said Troy Flint, a spokesman for the Oakland Unified School District. "We're investigating how could this have happened. It seems unthinkable to us, just the same way it does to the public."

Shoe

China Sports Brand Tries to Break Into US Market

Image
© The Associated Press / Ho, Li Ning
This handout photo taken on Aug. 25, 2009, shows Jay Li, General Manager of Li-Ning International sitting among shoes, at undisclosed location. Chinese athletic shoemaker Li-Ning knew it couldn't 'out-Nike' Nike, especially in the sporting giant's own backyard. So the company is going grassroots in its expansion to the U.S, using an irreverent YouTube video to play up it heritage while taking a lighthearted dig at the Li-Ning name.
Chinese athletic shoemaker Li-Ning knew it couldn't "out-Nike" Nike, especially in the sporting giant's own backyard. So the company is going low-budget edgy in its expansion to the U.S, using an irreverent YouTube video to play up its heritage while taking a lighthearted dig at the company name shared with its high-profile founder.

Li-Ning is among the first Chinese consumer product brands trying to build a following in the U.S., seeking to grab a slice of its saturated but highly coveted market. As China's economic might increases - it last year overtook Japan as the second-biggest economy after the U.S. - its companies are increasingly confident about expansion overseas. But corporate China has yet to produce a brand with the global name recognition of the likes of Apple, Sony or Google.

"It's a process of finding out - while staying true to our heritage, our brand - what side of our DNA is going to resonate with the American consumer," said Jay Li, general manager for Li-Ning International. "We're still searching, to be perfectly honest with you. And we're not in a hurry."

Americans might remember Li Ning (pronounced lee-NING) as the final torchbearer during the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics - the former gymnastics gold medalist who "ran" along the opening in the stadium roof while suspended by wires.

His namesake company is a top domestic brand in China's lucrative athletic shoe and apparel industry, with more than 7,900 stores across the country. Though it has forecast slumping sales and a one percentage point decline in gross profit margin in 2011, CEO Zhang Zhiyong recently told the Wall Street Journal that Li-Ning plans to invest $10 million in U.S. operations this year.

"Our founder Mr. Li Ning has always said his vision was never about building China's Nike, it's about building the world's Li-Ning," Li said. "You can't be global without having a legitimate claim of market share in the most mature sporting goods market."

There are significant hurdles to overcome: Americans are still smarting from the recession and spending less. Chinese goods are widely regarded as shoddily made, knockoffs or even dangerous. Li-Ning's logo recently underwent a redesign, but many consumers may still see a strong resemblance with the Nike "swoosh."

Family

US: 11 Teens Arrested in Mag Mile Robberies

Image
© unk
Chicago, Illinois-Some of the teens used Twitter to coordinate the grab-and-go robberies

Eleven teenagers are facing charges for bum-rushing Mag Mile stores and stealing $5,000 in loot.

The group targeted Filene's Basement at 830 N. Michigan Ave., The North Face at 875 N. Michigan Ave. and Ax Armani Exchange at 520 N. Michigan Ave. on Wednesday evening. Chicago police arrested the teens nearby that same night , the Sun-Times reports.

The five girls, ranging in age between 14 -16, and six boys, ranging in age between 15 - 17, are charged with retail theft as juveniles, police said.

The suspects stole $2,720 worth of products from The North Face, $2,247 from AX Armani Exchange and almost $300 from Filene's Basement, said police.

Laptop

Social Networking Under Fresh Attack as Tide of Cyber-Scepticism Sweeps US

teen using iphone
© Najlah Feanny/Corbis
An American student checks in on his smart phone. Critics of social networking say it is having an isolating effect on users.
Twitter and Facebook don't connect people - they isolate them from reality, say a rising number of academics

The way in which people frantically communicate online via Twitter, Facebook and instant messaging can be seen as a form of modern madness, according to a leading American sociologist.

"A behaviour that has become typical may still express the problems that once caused us to see it as pathological," MIT professor Sherry Turkle writes in her new book, Alone Together, which is leading an attack on the information age.

Turkle's book, published in the UK next month, has caused a sensation in America, which is usually more obsessed with the merits of social networking. She appeared last week on Stephen Colbert's late-night comedy show, The Colbert Report. When Turkle said she had been at funerals where people checked their iPhones, Colbert quipped: "We all say goodbye in our own way."

Turkle's thesis is simple: technology is threatening to dominate our lives and make us less human. Under the illusion of allowing us to communicate better, it is actually isolating us from real human interactions in a cyber-reality that is a poor imitation of the real world.

Alarm Clock

Olbermann Leaves 'Countdown' on MSNBC

Image
© Virginia Sherwood/MSNBC
Keith Olbermann in November.
9:43 p.m. Updated Keith Olbermann, the highest-rated host on MSNBC, announced abruptly on the air Friday night that he is leaving Countdown with Keith Olbermann immediately.

The host, who has had a stormy relationship with the management of the network for some time, especially since he was suspended for two days last November, came to an agreement with NBC's corporate management late this week to settle his contract and step down.

In a closing statement on his show, Mr. Olbermann said simply that it would be the last edition of the program. He offered no explanation other than on occasion, the show had become too much for him.

Mr. Olbermann thanked his viewers for their enthusiastic support of a show that had "gradually established its position as anti-establishment."

In a statement, MSNBC said : "MSNBC and Keith Olbermann have ended their contract. The last broadcast of Countdown with Keith Olbermann will be this evening. MSNBC thanks Keith for his integral role in MSNBC's success and we wish him well in his future endeavors."

Butterfly

US: Gabrielle Giffords Heard Cheers Leaving Arizona Hospital, Smiled

She heard them, smiled, and tears welled up in her eyes.

The caravan carrying Rep. Gabrielle Giffords swept past cheering crowds Friday as she left the hospital in Tucson, Ariz., where she dazzled doctors with her recovery from being shot in the head two weeks ago, and was moved to Houston for rehabilitation.


Children sat on their parents' shoulders as the motorcade passed. Many waved. Others carried signs wishing "Gabby" well.

"It was very emotional and very special," said Dr. Randall Friese, who traveled with Giffords.

By Friday afternoon, after a 930-plus-mile trip that doctors said went flawlessly, Giffords was in an intensive care unit at Texas Medical Center, where a new team of doctors planned to start her therapy immediately.

After several days of evaluation, she will be sent to the center's rehabilitation hospital, TIRR Memorial Hermann.

Giffords has "great rehabilitation potential," said Dr. Gerardo Francisco, chief medical officer of Memorial Hermann.

"She will keep us busy, and we will keep her busy as well," he said.

The first thing is to determine the extent of Giffords' injuries and the impact on her abilities to move and communicate. She hasn't spoken yet, and it's unknown whether she will suffer permanent disabilities.

A gunman shot Giffords and 18 other people on Jan. 8 as she met with constituents outside a grocery store in Tucson. Six people died. The suspect in the attack, Jared Loughner, 22, is being held in federal custody.

Handcuffs

US: Ex-Chicago Cop Gets 4 1/2 Years in Torture Case

Image
© The Associated Press / Charles Rex Arbogast
In this May 24, 2010 file photo, former Chicago police lieutenant Jon Burge leaves the federal building in Chicago. On Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011, a sentencing hearing is scheduled to begin for Burge, who was convicted of lying about the torture of suspects.
A decorated former Chicago police officer whose name has become synonymous with police brutality in the city was sentenced Friday to 4 1/2 years in federal prison for lying about the torture of suspects.

Dozens of suspects - almost all of them black men - have claimed for decades that Jon Burge and his officers electrically shocked, suffocated and beat them into confessing to crimes ranging from armed robbery to murder.

U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow said the sentence reflected the seriousness of the allegations and, in making her decision, she wondered why a respected officer so admired by his department would resort to such violence.

"My best guess is ambition," Lefkow said. "Perhaps the praise, the publicity and the commendations . . . were seductive and led you down this path."

Burge was charged with lying when he testified in a civil lawsuit brought by Madison Hobley, who was sentenced to death for a 1987 fire that killed seven people, including his wife and son. Hobley was later pardoned.

Hobley claimed detectives put a plastic typewriter cover over his head to make it impossible for him to breathe. Burge denied knowing anything about the "bagging" or taking part in it. The indictment against Burge never said Hobley was tortured but accused Burge of lying about participating in or knowing about torture that took place under his watch. Burge has never faced criminal charges for abuse.

Radar

Graffiti Threatening Governor Brown Turns Up In 2 Places In Santa Ana,California

Santa Ana police were called at 7 a.m. about threatening graffiti on Greenville Street north of Alton Avenue, Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said.

The graffiti read, "We gonna kill Gov. Brown 2 14 11," Bertagna said.

Santa Ana police were called at 7 a.m. about threatening graffiti on Greenville Street north of Alton Avenue, Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said.

The graffiti read, "We gonna kill Gov. Brown 2 14 11," Bertagna said.

Laptop

Google announces surprise shakeup as Larry Page takes on CEO role

Image
© Chris Hondros/Getty Images
Google said Larry Page (above) would take over from 4 April, when Eric Schmidt will become executive chairman.
Long-time chief Eric Schmidt to become executive chairman

Web giant reports better-than-expected profits of $2.5bn


Larry Page, Google's co-founder, is taking over the reins at the search engine giant from long-time chief Eric Schmidt.

In a surprise move Schmidt delivered the news as the company announced fourth-quarter profits that were far better than analysts had expected. "Day-to-day adult supervision no longer needed!" he tweeted as the results were released.

Google reported a profit of $2.54bn (£1.59bn), up from $1.97bn a year earlier, far better than expected. Schmidt said it had been a "great privilege" to lead the company and he looked forward to working with his "literally best friends and partners Larry and Sergey."

The company said Page would take over from 4 April when Schmidt will become executive chairman, "focusing externally on deals, partnerships, customers and broader business relationships".

Sheriff

US: FBI arrests 127 in its biggest ever Mafia crackdown

Image
© Chip East / Reuters
Roundup of suspected Cosa Nostra members in raids by 800 officers hark back to heyday of battle with the mob

The charge sheets read like a script from the heyday of Hollywood's love affair with the mob, replete with made men, consiglieres and vows of undying loyalty to the boss. In a move that made it seem time had stood still since The Godfather first astonished America in 1972, the FBI today renewed its decades-long battle against the US mafia.

In a devastating blow to the organised crime families of the north-eastern US, more than 800 FBI and police officers made the largest roundup of Cosa Nostra bosses and soldiers in US history. Some 127 mafia members and their accomplices were charged.

The arrests in New York, Newark in New Jersey and Rhode Island were both an indication of the mafia's enduring power in the US and of the determination of the FBI to regain the initiative in its struggle with the organisation.