10-26-18 Children denied lunch
Italians have stepped up to pay for school lunches after the far-right mayor of Lodi stripped subsidies from some 200 children with immigrant parents. Mayor Sara Casanova of the far-right League party announced that parents of non–European Union children would have to provide proof that they held no assets in their home countries to get subsidized school lunches. Because most refugees can’t gather such proof, their kids—many of them born and raised in Italy—have been barred from school cafeterias. Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, who is head of the anti-immigration League, initially supported the mayor, tweeting “SHE’S RIGHT!!” He backed down after outraged Italians raised nearly $92,000 to pay for the children’s meals.
10-26-18 Poisoned baby food
A German man who poisoned jars of baby food with enough antifreeze to kill a child and placed them on store shelves has been sentenced to 12½ years in prison for attempted murder and extortion. The 54-year-old, whose name has been withheld under German privacy laws, was trying to force the baby food companies to pay him $13.5 million to identify the tainted jars. He threatened to poison other foods as well. That nobody was harmed, said prosecutor Peter Vobiller, was the result of solid detective work and “a goodly portion of luck.” The case evoked the Tylenol crisis in the U.S. in 1982, when someone laced Tylenol capsules with cyanide, killing seven people and leading manufacturers to introduce tamper-proof packaging.
10-23-18 #PasDeVague: French teachers break silence on 'abuse' by students
French teachers have revealed stories of bullying by students after a video showed a teen pointing a fake gun at his teacher in a Paris suburb. French teachers have revealed stories of bullying by students after a video showed a teen pointing a fake gun at his teacher in a Paris suburb. Hundreds on Twitter ironically used #PasDeVague ("Don't Make Waves") to highlight their alleged abuse. Most said they had received no support after reporting threats, insults, harassment and violence. The 15-year-old said to be involved in the fake gun incident has been charged with aggravated violence. The move came after his teacher complained about the incident at the high school in Créteil. The boy said it was "a joke" and that he did not know he was being filmed by one of his classmates, who shared the video on Snapchat. Described in French media as the #MeToo movement of the nation's public education sector, teachers have unleashed a wave of thousands of tweets. "I was spat on and threatened to be 'beaten up' after school," tweeted a Latin teacher of 10 years. When she pushed for sanctions, the principal agreed to suspend the student for three days but allegedly accused the teacher of being repressive. Another teacher spoke of a colleague who received death threats signed by an entire class of students. "The support? Nought." "I would have liked to been supported when a student hit me in a hallway of my school some years ago," tweeted another (in French). The girl was not expelled, and "I was told I shouldn't feel so strongly about it. This is the reality on the ground." One teacher recalled having lots of enthusiasm and ideas for her first teaching job as a 23 year old. "During the first recess, you're crying in the toilets because you're not ready for... the blows and insults that rain between them and towards me."
10-15-18 National bans on smacking children linked to less teenage violence
A survey has found that teenagers get into more fights in countries where it is legal to spank children, but there could be several explanations for the link. Does smacking your children make them more likely to hit others? A global survey has found that teenagers get into more fights in countries where it is legal to spank children. Anti-smacking campaigners say this adds to the evidence that supports banning physical punishment. However sceptics say the findings show that smacking and fighting are linked in some way, but not that one leads to the other. Corporal punishment used to be commonplace, but a growing list of countries have banned it, including Sweden, Germany, and New Zealand. In the UK, smacking will soon become illegal in Scotland and there are calls for the same to happen in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. As well as concerns that smacking promotes violence, campaigners say it makes parental child abuse more likely. However, supporters argue that smacking can be necessary for discipline. Frank Elgar of McGill University in Montreal wondered if there was a link between corporal punishment and teenage behaviour. His team looked at two regularly repeated surveys of children in 88 countries, which include questions about how often they have been in a fight. Nations were classed in one of three ways: no smacking bans, full smacking bans, or partial smacking bans, where smacking isn’t allowed in schools but is legal for parents, as is currently the case in the UK.
10-13-18 Pope defrocks two Chilean bishops over child abuse claims.
Pope Francis has stripped two Chilean bishops of their duties as priests amid claims that they are linked to the sexual abuse of minors. They are Francisco José Cox Huneeus, archbishop emeritus of La Serena, and Marco Antonio Órdenes Fernández, archbishop emeritus of Iquique. The Vatican issued a statement on their defrocking after a meeting between the pontiff and the president of Chile. The decision could not be appealed against, it said on Saturday. It was announced as Pope Francis met Chile's President Sebastian Piñera in the Vatican, where the two spoke particularly about "the painful scourge of abuse of minors". More than 100 Catholic clergy are being investigated in Chile over alleged sex crimes and attempts to cover them up. All 34 of Chile's bishops offered their resignations to the Pope in May over the scandal. The pontiff accepted three resignations in June. Police have raided offices and seized Church documents in the capital Santiago and the city of Rancagua as part of their investigation. In September Pope Francis defrocked former priest Fernando Karadima, 88, for having sexually abused minors.
10-12-18 Only in America
A Florida woman says her daughter was suspended from high school because her ripped jeans, showing her right knee, might inflame the “hormones” of male students. Melissa McKinlay says an administrator told her daughter she should “consider the guys in her class and their hormones when choosing her outfit.” McKinlay noted that many male students wearing shorts “have two knees showing.”
10-12-18 Missing kids found safe
A newly formed Child Recovery Unit identified and safely recovered 123 missing children during a daylong sweep, the U.S. Marshals Service announced last week. Multiple law enforcement agencies participated in the search throughout Wayne County, which includes Detroit, visiting the missing children’s last known addresses, friends’ homes, and schools. Authorities had hoped to find as many as 301 victims of sex trafficking. All the recovered children were interviewed about possibly being sexually victimized, and three were identified as possible sex-trafficking cases, officials said. One homeless teen was brought to the police command post after it was discovered that he hadn’t eaten in three days. “The message to the missing children and their families that we wish to convey is that we will never stop looking for you,” the U.S. Marshals Service said in a statement.
10-12-18 How to stop the maiming of girls
It’s time to hold fathers responsible for the mutilation of their daughters, said Clément Zongo. Burkina Faso banned female genital mutilation in 1996—one of the first African countries to do so. Still, three-quarters of our women have been cut, and the practice continues to this day. Acting on a tip, police last month rescued and hospitalized 50 girls and women who had just been subjected to illegal clitorectomies, the surgical removal of the clitoris. The mass cutting didn’t take place in some remote backwater, but in our capital, Ouagadougou. The victims ranged in age from infancy to their early 20s, and police arrested at least 22 people at the scene, including the cutters and some of the female relatives who had accompanied the girls. Penalizing mothers and aunts, though, will not bring about change in Burkinabe culture. “Why is the man entitled to pleasure and not the woman?” This misogynistic tradition is rooted in the patriarchy, and it is “the uncompromising phallocrat who dictates the rules.” If we were to amend our laws to sentence a father to prison when his daughter was cut, “we would see this evil retreat at a gallop.” Men who care about women should not rest until this wrong is eradicated. “Vive le clitoris!”