Boy, 13, fathers baby with girl, 10

A Romanian Gypsy woman whose 10-year-old daughter just gave birth in Spain says she’s delighted to have a new granddaughter and doesn’t understand why the birth has shocked anyone — let alone become an international sensation. Spanish authorities have released few details about the case to protect the girl’s privacy.

But in comments published Wednesday, her mother told reporters the baby’s father is a 13-year-old boy who is still in Romania and is no longer going out with her daughter…

The 10-year-old girl and her baby daughter plan to stay in Spain because the young couple separated, said the girl’s mother.

She also said she didn’t understand the attention the case was generating because she and her daughter are Romanian Gypsies, or Roma, and their custom is to allow girls to marry young even though that’s against the law in Romania…

The girl moved to Spain about three weeks ago, her mother said, and her baby was born in a public hospital last week in the nearby city of Jerez de la Frontera. There were no complications during the birth, and the 10-year-old and her baby are doing fine, her mother said…

But arranged “marriages” between teenagers are relatively common among Roma, who make up about 1.5 million of Romania’s 22 million people. Families “marry off” daughters when they reach puberty, with the “husband” usually being a couple of years older. The marriages are not recognized by the state.

Roma girls are often not encouraged to pursue a full education, and Romanian authorities do not widely enforce education laws that require children to attend school until age 16.

There are different cultures and then – there are different cultures.

I don’t know what current understanding is about maturity, decision-making, for early teens, pre-teens. But, then, it’s not especially clear what decisions other than low-level endocrine systems were involved. And that doesn’t seem to matter either.

Having sex, having children at any age seems to be OK. I wonder if having an abortion is a choice?I wonder if having a choice – is a choice?

Thanks, Mr. Fusion

11-year-olds with a pellet gun rob an 8-year-old

Not the same kids. I hope.

Armed robbery charges were sought Tuesday against two 11-year-old Detroit boys accused of holding up an 8-year-old boy in Center Line with a plastic pellet gun built like a semiautomatic pistol.

The 8-year-old was walking with a cell phone in his neighborhood along Van Dyke Avenue, south of 10 Mile Road at about 4 p.m. Saturday when the two older boys rode up on bicycles, said John Riley, Center Line Public Safety Director. One boy demanded the cell phone. The other held the replica pellet gun — which fires hard plastic pellets — to the younger boy’s head, he said…

The younger boy gave them the phone, then ran to a nearby pizza place for help. A pizza store supervisor called police, who spotted the older boys and gave chase. The two 11-year-olds dumped the bikes, which reportedly were not theirs, and attempted to run away, but were arrested a short time later, Riley said…

None of the boys is being identified because they are minors.

“We’re going to follow through with charges,” Riley said, adding that a petition to prosecute the 11-year-olds in Macomb County Juvenile Court was submitted Tuesday.

Riley said the pair likely will end up in the Wayne County juvenile justice system because they live in Detroit..

Nothing in the article about the parents of the young villains.

I don’t know what questions to ask. Don’t their parents care what they’re doing? Do they have any adults actually responsible for teaching appropriate behavior? Didn’t daddy have a real gun they could have borrowed?

Canada’s high school dropout rate cut in half since 1990

The number of young people dropping out of high school has been slashed in half in the last 20 years, according to new data from Statistics Canada.

In 1990-91, nearly 340,000 or 16.6 per cent of young people aged 20 to 24 had not completed a high school diploma and were not attending school.

But in the last two decades, that number has dropped dramatically, falling to 8.5 per cent of young people or 191,000 by the 2009-10 school year.

More young women continue to stay in school, with a dropout rate of 6.6 per cent, better than the 10.3 per cent of young men, however that gap has narrowed over the previous 20 years. In 1990-91, the rate was 14 per cent for women and 19.2 per cent for men…

The data also looked at the effect of the economic downturn in 2008-09, when nearly one out of every four dropouts in the labour market was unable to find a job. Among those who did find work, their earnings were less than for those with a high school diploma.

British Columbia, at 6.2 per cent, has the fewest number of young people without a high school diploma.

Golly gee, folks. How do those dropout rates from the GWN look compared to your own community, your state?

Think we should take a look at the hows and whys of what goes on in Canadian education – or leave it all in the hands of Congress and our state legislatures?

New bombs found as Greece suspends mail deliveries

Angelos Tzortzinis/AFP/Getty Images

The Greek authorities on Wednesday suspended all deliveries of foreign-bound mail for 48 hours after letter bombs were sent to several embassies in Greece and the leaders of Italy, Germany and France.

The latest discovery was a letter bomb addressed to Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of Italy, which was intercepted less than 24 hours after a similar device, also sent from Greece, arrived at the mailroom outside the office of the German chancellor, Angela Merkel. A cargo plane that left Athens International Airport late on Tuesday, destined for Paris with a stopoff in Rome, was rerouted to Bologna after the Greek authorities realized that the aircraft was carrying a package addressed to Mr. Berlusconi. The police at the Bologna airport found the package and destroyed it, according to the Italian news agency Ansa.

A spokesman for the Greek police, who was not authorized to speak publicly, said two suspicious packages intercepted at the Athens airport on Tuesday night and destroyed in controlled explosions had been addressed to the international police organization Europol at the Hague and the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

Though only one person was injured, and only slightly, and most of the devices were neutralized, the wave of letter bombs unnerved European officials already scrambling to secure the continent’s air-cargo system after the discovery last week of parcel bombs in Britain and Dubai that were shipped from Yemen and addressed to Jewish institutions in Chicago. Those bombs have been linked an Al Qaeda branch in Yemen.

Prime Minister George Papandreou on Wednesday sought to make clear that the letter bombs were the work of domestic terrorists.

Democracy will not be terrorized,” said Mr. Papandreou, whose administration is struggling with a huge debt crisis and preparing for local elections on Sunday. “The irresponsible and mindless acts of those who aim to undermine the efforts of the Greek people to put the country and the economy back on track will not succeed.”

RTFA. Long, detailed, knowledgeable coverage of anarchists whose perception of political struggle is as deranged as any follower of al Qaeda.

After a half-century of activism – which occasionally included places and periods when armed self-defense was not uncommon – I still find no more logic or reason behind leftwing nutballs than rightwing nutballs. Critical domestic conflict is not going to be resolved by assassination or terrorist tactics. You win nothing but contempt.

Canada’s parliament to review citizen’s arrest law

David Chen (center) flanked by Alicia Chow, David Lindsay – Not Guilty

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has [finally] demanded a fix to laws governing citizen’s arrests and called on Justice Department officials to look at changing the Criminal Code.

After weeks of ignoring opposition calls to amend the law, Mr. Harper told a surprised Commons yesterday he wants to prevent a recurrence of a case in which a Toronto shopkeeper was charged after making a citizen’s arrest of a shoplifter.

David Chen and two employees at the Lucky Moose market were acquitted last week on charges of assault and forcible confinement…

The Prime Minister’s announcement came within hours of the Conservatives refusing to give unanimous consent to a motion that would have allowed Parliament to swiftly approve a private member’s bill to allow citizens to detain criminals within “a reasonable amount of time” after a crime is committed.

New Democrat Olivia Chow, the author of the citizen’s arrest bill, said she doesn’t care who gets credit as long as the law gets changed after the experience of Mr. Chen.

“I have said for a long time that hard-working shop owners should not be treated like criminals,” Ms. Chow, a Toronto MP, told reporters.

“I’m very happy today that finally the Prime Minister said that he will change the Criminal Code. We should call this a Lucky Moose bill, because really had David Chen’s case not occurred, the Criminal Code wouldn’t be changed…”

At issue in Mr. Chen’s case was whether he was within his rights to make the arrest because he apprehended the man hours after he had committed the theft.

I never spent much time working retail; but, I can appreciate the frustration felt by any shopkeeper over dealing with shoplifters and similar thugs.

The biggest danger in my neck of the prairie is that local politicians would like to keep security guards and shopowners defenseless when facing down armed thieves. A losing proposition for ordinary folks simply trying to halt a crime.

End-of-life care for advanced dementia patients

It’s hard for physicians to determine with much precision how long anyone with a terminal disease can expect to live, but it’s particularly challenging when the disease is advanced dementia.

“People with dementia get sicker inch by inch,” said Lin Simon, director of quality at Gilchrist Hospice in Baltimore, the largest hospice organization in Maryland. “Trying to say, ‘Now, she’s ready for hospice’ is much harder.”

Yet doctors serve as the gateway to hospice, which provides palliative care for the dying and support for their families. Medicare regulations require a physician to certify that a patient entering hospice is likely to die of his or her disease within six months. Doctors are more likely to do so when the disease is cancer or heart failure, which have more predictable trajectories.

That’s the major reason that dementia patients — who can benefit from the better pain control, fewer hospitalizations (so often associated with aggressive treatments that confer no measurable benefit) and greater family satisfaction that hospice has been shown to provide — are under-enrolled in hospice programs…

A 2004 study in The Journal of General Internal Medicine estimated that fewer than one in 10 people dying of dementia receives hospice services. A study of Michigan patients with advanced dementia, conducted about a decade ago, found that just 5.7 percent of nursing home residents and 10.7 percent of those receiving home care died with hospice care.

Nationally, by way of comparison, more than 40 percent of Americans who die each year are in hospice care.

When people with advanced dementia do get a hospice referral, “they’re enrolled quite late, within a few weeks or even days of death,” said Dr. Susan Mitchell, a senior scientist at the Hebrew Senior Life Institute for Aging Research in Boston.

Better prognoses might mean less suffering.


Less bureaucratic fiddling with paperwork instead of solutions – might mean less suffering, as well. Less regulation designed by beancounters instead of physicians might help, too.

Passerby – and cafe awning saves baby in seven-storey fall

A 15-month-old baby girl survived a fall from a seventh-floor apartment in Paris almost unscathed after bouncing off a cafe awning and into the arms of a passer-by…

The infant had been playing unsupervised with her four-year-old sister Monday when she somehow fell out of the window, a spokesman for local city police said.

A young man saw the baby starting to fall and alerted his father, who raced to get into position, arms outstretched, to catch her after she hit the awning, the daily Le Parisien reported…

Police said the girl appeared to have no serious injuries and was under observation in a nearby hospital.

The owner of the cafe, located at the foot of the block of flats in the northeast of Paris, said it was a stroke of luck he had decided to leave the awning open that afternoon…

The police spokesman said the circumstances behind the accident were unclear. “The parents were absent, and it’s a bit difficult questioning the two girls, given their age.”

Wow. That is one very lucky little kid. She probably won’t realize the danger she survived until she’s much older.