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Too much to bear

Mark David Madoff, son of Bernard L. Madoff and publisher of a popular real estate newsletter called Sonar Report hung himself in his Manhattan apartment earlier this week.

According to The New York Times, Mark Madoff, who had four children, has been named in nine or more lawsuits seeking millions of dollars in damages after his father was imprisoned for defrauding thousands of investors. Madoff's professional reputation was muddied said friends to The New York Times.

Mark Madoff and his brother Andrew reported their father to authorities in 2009 when he told them of the multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme he had been running. Bernard Madoff is serving a 150-year sentence after having plead guilty.

This year was the two-year anniversary of Bernerd Maddoff's arrest, reported the times. According to friends, Mark Madoff had expressed anger and frustration after being subjected to extensive media coverage suggesting that he was still under investigation by federal prosecutors.

Mark Madoff sent an e-mail asking someone to come take care of his son before he hung himself, reported The New York Times. His young son and the family's dog were found safe in the apartment

Wal-Mart accused of discrimination

The Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal on a case claiming that Wal-Mart discriminated against thousands of female employees on Monday.

According to The New York Times, the case is likely to be heard by the end of June and will not discuss whether or not Wal-Mart favors men over women but whether or not the case can be tried as a class-action suit. Wal-Mart's main objection to having the case tried in this manner is that this particular class if fairly large, due mostly to the company's size.

USA Today reported that Wal-Mart sought to have the class action suit reversed, claiming that it could potentially cover more than 1 million employees company wide.

Judge Susan B. Graber countered this, writing in a concurrence, "If the employer had 500 female employees, I doubt that any of my colleagues would question the certification of such a class. Certification does not become an abuse of discretion merely because the class has 500,000 members."

Judge Alex Kozinski did not agree with Judge Graber however. "Maybe there'd be no difference between 500 employees and 500,000 employees if they all had similar jobs, worked at the same half-billion-square-foot store and were supervised by the same managers," he wrote. "They (the women) have little in common but their sex and this lawsuit."

According to both The New York Times and USA Today, this case could could significantly affect class-actions and job-discrimination cases nationwide.

Southwest Airline told a Chicago teenager that he was too big for one seat.

According to KARE 11, 18-year-old Tim White was told he was too big for one seat and would have to purchase another to ride the plane.

The airline then refused to sell the seat over the phone saying that there was a risk for fraud and even though the seat next to him was empty and the plane was not full, White was not allowed to board the plane, said KARE 11.

Janel Klein of KARE 11 said that White and his twin brother were forced to change their plans and buy tickets on an overnight bus instead.

White's aunt said that having to buy another ticket was not an issue but that she disliked the way the airline treated her nephew.

"I just think their employee was rude to him and he didn't have to handle it that way. If they're comfortable enough to have the poilcy, they need to be comfortable enough to disclose it."

Southwest later apologized to the family and refunded both tickets.

Heroin: a growing problem

Dana Smith sat in her living room for five hours, shocked by the fact that her oldest son, Arthur Eisel, had just died from a heroin overdose.

According to The New York Times, Smith, whose other two sons also struggle with heroin addiction, received the phone call that every mother dreads while she was at work.

Arthur Eisel, as well has his two other brothers Robby Eisel and Ryan Eisel, became addicted to heroin after becoming addicted to OxyContin, a prescription drug often taken for chronic pain, said The New York Times. When OxyContin supplies ran out, their dealer recommended the switch to heroin.

Smith struggled watching her three sons try to break their addictions. She provided Arthur a place to stay, food, and occasionally even money that he likely used to buy more heroin.

"I was an enabler," she told The New York Times. "I was his mother."

Arthur went through a series of drug rehabilitation centers in the months leading up to his death. He broke free from his addiction and relapsed several times before taking the overdose that finally killed him, said The New York Times.

Investigators had been following the ring that sold Arthur the heroin that killed him long before his death, said The New York Times. Finally the lethal dose was tracked backed to Manuel Cazeras-Contreras, 30, and Vicotor Delgadillo Parra, 23, two immigrants that turned to drug trafficking when they failed to find jobs in the United States.

"I was living a hard life here in the United States," Parra told The New York Times.

The Internal Revenue Service continues to sit on data that may be helpful in tracking down thousands of missing children throughout the United States.

According to The New York Times, the government has admitted that it has access to data that could lead to finding thousands of missing children, especially those who are abducted by estranged spouses but said they cannot legally release the information due to taxpayer privacy laws.

These privacy laws, which were enacted nearly a generation ago, create several obstacles for parents and investigators and forbid the IRS from releasing any data unless the abduction is being investigated as a federal crime and a U.S. district judge demands it is released, reported the Star Tribune.

"We will do whatever we can within the confines of the law to make it easier for law enforcement to find abducted children," said Michelle Eldridge, an IRS spokeswoman to The New York Times.

A study done by the Treasury Department in 2007 looked at the Social Security numbers of 1,700 missing children found that more than a third had been used in tax returns filed after their abduction, reported the Star Tribune.

In the past, the IRS has worked with several children's advocates and has even included photographs of missing children with forms mailed to taxpayers, leading to the recovery of more than 80 children, reported the Star Tribune.

According to the Star Tribune, most of the 20,000 child abductions reported each year in the United States, involve parental abductors. A significant number of these parents later file tax returns.

"There are hundreds of cases this could help solve," said Cindy Rudometkin of the Polly Klaas Foundation told The New York Times. "And even if it helped solve one case -- imagine if that child returned home was yours."

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