14-Year-Old Indicted for Rape and Murder of High School Teacher


Philip Chism, 14, was indicted by a grand jury Thursday for murder, aggravated rape and armed robbery in relation to the death of 24-year-old teacher Colleen Ritzer last month.

Chism was allegedly armed with a box cutter when he robbed her of an iPhone, credit cards, and her underwear. Police say she was sexually assaulted with a foreign object and was killed in the bathroom of Danvers High School in Massachusetts after class let out October 22. Her body was found in the woods behind the school.

“The indictments returned today detail horrific and unspeakable acts,” District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said in a statement.

Chism is being tried as an adult and is being held without bail. He entered a not-guilty plea to the first-degree murder charge on October 23. A court date hasn’t been set.

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Hamas Is in Trouble in Gaza and Looking to Iran for Help


A year ago Hamas was riding higher than it ever had. The militant Palestinian group had not only survived another round of fighting with Israel, it had renewed its credentials as a “resistance organization” in the process, firing as many missiles out of the Gaza Strip as the Israeli military fired in and hoisting rockets for the first time toward Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Listed as a terrorist organization by the State Department and European Union, it had nonetheless hosted foreign emissaries — the prime minister of Egypt, the foreign minister of Turkey – during the height of the fighting, bolstering a claim on statesmanship first tasted with the celebrated visit of the emir of Qatar a month earlier.

The cease-fire ending last November’s hostilities was brokered by then-Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, a fellow traveler in the Muslim Brotherhood flagship of political Islam that had also produced Hamas. And the…

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Pope Francis: ‘No Middle East Without Christians’


The Catholic Church will not accept a Middle East without Christians, Pope Francis said on Thursday after meeting with patriarchs from Iran, Iraq and Syria.

“We will not resign ourselves to imagining a Middle East without Christians,” he said before calling for “the universal right to lead a dignified life and freely practice one’s own faith to be respected.” The pontiff, speaking at a time when Christian communities in the Middle East have grown increasingly vulnerable amid the upheavals of recent years, said “Syria, Iraq, Egypt and other areas of the Holy Land sometimes overflow with tears.”

According to the Oeuvre d’Orient Catholic association, there are an estimated 10 to 13 million Christians in the region. They represent 36 percent of Lebanon’s population, 10 percent of Egypt’s, five percent of Syria’s and two percent of Iraq’s. Throughout Syria’s civil war, Christians have claimed to be targeted persecuted by anti-government rebels…

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Say an Extra Thanksgiving Prayer: Obama’s Pardoned Turkeys Keep Dying


Has getting a presidential pardon for Thanksgiving become a death wish?

US News and World Report got word that three of the most recent turkeys that Obama has pardoned — in an ongoing presidential tradition — have met their maker. (Don’t worry, they died of natural causes.)

Gobbler and Cobbler, the two turkeys who attended the 2012 ceremony, died in February and August respectively. Liberty, the 2011 bird, lived to two-years-old until she was euthanized this year for heart problems.

US News and World Report didn’t disclose the state of the turkeys pardoned between 2008-11, so hopefully the recent trend is just a passing one.

[US News and World Report]

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6,000 Child Abuse Reports Overlooked in Arizona Since 2009


As many as 6,000 child abuse cases reported to an Arizona state hotline were misclassified and thus went uninvestigated since 2009, officials said Thursday.

“The idea that there are 6,000 cases where we don’t know whether or not children are safe, that’s cause for grave alarm,” Clarence Carter, head of Arizona’s child welfare system, told the AP. Carter says 5,000 of the cases occurred in the last 20 months when the hotline underwent changes and personnel saw an increased caseload.

Thus far, 125 of the cases involved children who became the subject of later abuse investigations.

Governor Jan Brewer noted that Child Protective Services was a weak point earlier this year and added 50 new caseworkers and funding for an additional 150 in July.


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Homelessness Declines in the U.S.


For the third year in a row, the U.S. homelessness epidemic shows signs of improvement.

A government survey released Thursday measured 610,000 people in 3,000 cities and counties were homeless on a single night in January. While the number is significant, it is down 4 percent, from 633,782, in 2013.

The Housing and Urban Development Department study also saw a decrease in homeless veterans by nearly 8 percent from last year. The organization attributes that figure to increased participation in government vouchers which curb housing costs.


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The man who tried to save JFK’s assassin

CNN Newsroom

On the 50th anniversary of JKF’s assassination, CNN’s Brooke Baldwin speaks to Kate Griendling, “Capturing Oswald” filmmaker and Jim Leavelle, former Dallas Homcide detective who has handcuffed to Lee Harvey Oswald when he was shot.

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“Carly Simon – Coming Around Again”


God As Teacher – Cartoon #6

Z GodOutOfSchool

God As Teacher – Cartoon #5