January 2012 Archives

Teacher accused of abusing students in class

| No Comments

A Los Angeles elementary school teacher was accused of abusing students when suspicious photos were passed to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, according to ABC News.

Mark Berndt, a teacher with over 30 years of experience in teaching, was arrested with a charge of molesting 23 students, according to a statement from the Sheriff's Department, ABC News reported. Berndt abused his students during class time and "disguised it as a game", Dan Scott, sheriff's Sgt. told the Los Angeles Times.

The department discovered photos from a photo processing facility and Berndt's home showing students bound and blindfolded, and some with large Madagascar cockroaches on their faces, Scott told the Los Angeles Times. Some photos showed female students being forced a blue plastic spoon holding white liquid in front of their mouths, ABC News reported. Police determined the white liquid was Berndt's semen.

Parents and teachers were furious about the arrest.

John Deasy, Los Angeles schools Supt., told the Los Angeles Times in a statement Tuesday he "[found] it disgusting" and "reprehensible" for a teacher to violate parents' and children's trust. He said the school district was aware of the accusation on Jan. 7, 2011, and removed Berndt from the classroom the same day. Berndt was terminated by the district at their next meeting.

"This is an unfortunate incident that has occurred at our school, and I'd like to express my deepest sympathies to the families of those victims," Martin Sandoval, principal at the elementary school, told ABC News.

Starbucks is finally landing in India by August after years of delay, according to the Seattle Times.

Starbucks Corp. is expanding its business to India - the fastest growing economy after China - with venture partner Tata Global Beverages, Bloomberg reported. The first store is expected to open in August. Outlets will be built in Mumbai and New Delhi this year and in 50 locations within the first 12 months, R.K. Krishna Kumar, Tata Global Vice Chairman told Bloomberg at a press conference in Mumbai.

John Culver, president of Starbucks' Asian Pacific region told the Seattle Times that they viewed India "to be a very large market for [them] over time," particularly among young people and the emerging middle class who switch from tea drinkers to coffee consumers.

But he was concerned about the underdeveloped infrastructure in the country, the Seattle Times reported. That was why they cooperated with Tata, India's largest coffee producer and exporter.

Starbucks is benefitted from the new India retail rules passed on Jan. 10, according to Bloomberg. India's government raised the ownership limit to 100 percent for foreign retailers selling a single brand.

Even though Starbucks will faces more competition opening five years later than expected, Culver told the Seattle Times they were optimistic that business in India will follow the footsteps of Starbucks in China, starting slow but growing to its largest international market.

Star Tribune reporter approached his news lead with 3 Ws - who, when and what - in the story on stadium at Metrodome site.

The reporter succeeded in highlighting the essence of the story with one sentence in the news lead, providing readers with the outcome of the negotiation on the new stadium site while withholding the content of the discussion. Readers, on first glance, knew that Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf expressed optimism in agreeing on a new stadium at the Metrodome site. They also knew, from the news lead, the Vikings were still fighting for the stadium to be built in Ramsey Country.

Details of the negotiation - the participating parties, the budget plan the Legislature planned to implant on the project, why the Arden Hills plan was still on hold - were not revealed until subsequent paragraphs. The news lead aroused readers with interest in the Vikings to read the entire report, which reported a more detailed outcome of the negotiation.

Daily consumption of 200 milligrams of more of caffeine shows effect in estrogen levels in young women, according to a research from the National Institutes of Health cited in The State Column.

Z6Mag cited a study published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition which studied around 250 women between the ages of 18-44. They consumed around 90 milligrams of caffeine each day, which is equivalent to a cup of coffee per day.

Researchers concluded that caffeine increased estrogen levels in Asian women but decreased estrogen levels in white women, cited the State Column. Results did not show conclusive impacts on black women.

Researchers collected blood samples from the study members one to three times a week over two menstrual cycles to check their estrogen levels and information about their lifestyle behaviors, reported Z6Mag.

The change in estrogen level did not show influence on menstruation patterns, according to the State Column. Z6Mag cited from the study that the change also did not show impact on the women's ovulation or overall health.

Di Enrique Schisterman, an author of the study and senior investigator at the National Institutes of Health, told Z6Mag caffeine's different effect on race was likely a result of genetics. He said they were still investigating any "long-term effects of these small shifts in hormonal levels."

Costa Crociere SpA announced Friday a compensation of $14,460 for each uninjured passengers in the shipwreck accident, reported the Wall Street Journal.

Each uninjured passengers would receive $14,460 for lost baggage and psychological trauma in addition to the reimbursement for the cost of cruise ticket, travel expenses and medical expenses after the grounding, reported the Wall Street Journal.

Many were unsatisfied about the deal, and sought for legal actions.

Claudia Urru of Cagliari, Sardinia, told the Associated Press (reported in USA Today) about their concern for their children. Her elder son is suffering from trauma and is seeing a psychiatrist. She said the family could not make decisions in this hard time so they turned to legal advice.

Melissa Goduti of Wallingford, Connecticut has also been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. Costa offered to pay for three to five counseling sessions but she told USA Today in an email that she would need more to get over this tragic event.

Costa tried to persuade passengers to accept the "quick, generous" restitution that guarantee them $18,500 of compensation, Roberto Corbella, representative from Costa in the negotiations told the Associated Press (reported in USA Today).

"The big advantage that they have is an immediate response, no legal expenses, and they can put this whole thing behind them," he told the Associated Press (reported in the Wall Street Journal).

Captain Francesco Schettino was under house arrest for manslaughter. Injured parties are prepared to charge him as a criminal case, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Minnesota Vikings just has to accept a new stadium at the Metrodome site although the Vikings asked to build it in Ramsey Country, according to the Star Tribune.

Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf told the Star Tribune he was optimistic about getting the group to agree on building the new stadium at the Metrodome. The Vikings officials were "frustrated" about the location earlier in the week.

But the Vikings would still put hope in the Arden Hills plan, Wilf told the Pioneer Press. Wilf met with Gov. Mark Dayton, city officials and key legislators for three hours Wednesday trying to agree a new $918 million stadium at the Metrodome. No agreement was made in the meeting but they had made progress, the group announced after the meeting.

The state rejected the Arden Hills plan because of the lack of financial support. Julie Rosen, state Sen., told the Pioneer Press the food and beverage tax proposed by Ramsey Country leaders to support the Arden Hills plan "is not going to work."

But it was not hopeless for the Minnesota Vikings.

Rosen further told the Pioneer Press that "if they can come back to use with another proposal to keep this alive by the end of the week, then we'll take another look at it."

Gov. Dayton would meet with Wilf and the team officials again next week to continue their debate, reported the Star Tribune.

Frequent flyers can now go through airport security with less time at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport will be one of the seven national airports to allow invited passengers to through security checkpoint using "Pre-Check" starting Tuesday, reported the Pioneer Press.

Frequent flyers with Delta Airlines and American Airlines may be invited by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for a background check and pay $50 for a less cumbersome security check, CBS Minnesota reported.

The TSA has yet to reveal how passengers can be invited, Joe Taney, regional director of the TSA, told the Pioneer Press. Taney told CBS Minnesota that the TSA can focus resources on "people [they] don't know" under the system.

Passenger Bob Williams told the Pioneer Press his favoring on the Pre line and he would be seeking for Pre line in other airports.

Not every passenger endorses the Pre-Check. Traveler Sally Lannin told CBS Minnesota that paying $50 to get access to only seven airports' security check is just "crazy."

You can still anticipate the TSA to expand the program to other national airports, according to CBS Minnesota.

Thousands of protesters marched to the Supreme Court on Monday morning to call for an end to abortion in the states.

Abortion opponents gathered for the annual "March for Life", marking the 39th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion nationwide, the Washington Post reported. They marched to the Supreme Court holding signs reading: "I Vote Pro-Life First" and "Defund Planned Parenthood," the Washington Post also reported.

The Washington Post reports that the number of participants in this year's march dropped slightly because of the soggy and chilly conditions on Monday morning. The "March for Life" was started since 1974 and is now one of the largest protests in Washington.

House Speaker John Boehner and several dozen members of Congress addressed the rally and were cheered by participants, USA Today reported. Boehner told the group that he was one of 12 children and was glad they were all there.

According to USA Today, several dozens of participants come from high school. Philips, a senior who has been attending the march for 10 years, told USA Today that "we'd like that to end."

According to the Washington Post, Americans remain strongly divided on abortion.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from January 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

February 2012 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.