February 6th, 2012
02:47 AM ET

L.A. school at center of child abuse cases to be closed for 2 days

A Los Angeles elementary school at the center of two child abuse cases will be closed for two days this week as the investigations continue, officials said.

Two teachers at the Miramonte Elementary School were arrested last week: one is accused of taking bondage photos of more than two dozen students in his classroom; the other is accused of lewd acts on children.

Tom Waldman, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Unified School, said Miramonte will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday "to take a break."

Waldman said both days will be "pupil free days" but could not say whether staffers will be in the building.

The spokesman said he was also aware that some parents were planning to protest Monday. Some have said they will keep their children home, while others have indicated they may picket the school.

The arrests of both teachers came last week.

In the first case, Mark Berndt, a 61-year-old teacher, is accused of taking bondage photos, some showing suspected semen-filled spoons at the children's mouths, authorities said.

On Friday, a second teacher - 49-year-old Martin Bernard Springer - was arrested for allegedly fondling two young girls in the classroom.

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Filed under: Crime • U.S.
Giant NY parade awaits Super Bowl winners
Giants quarterback Eli Manning with the Vince Lombardi trophy after their 21-17 win over the Patriots.
February 6th, 2012
02:34 AM ET

Giant NY parade awaits Super Bowl winners

A ticker tape parade awaits the New York Giants this week when the team returns home as Super Bowl champions after defeating the New England Patriots in a last-minute touchdown.

The Super Bowl victory Sunday night was the fourth for the Giants, which defeated the Pats 17-14 in the 2008 title game.

Pats fans who had hoped their team would avenge the 2008 loss were left crestfallen. But for Giants supporters, the celebration was just beginning.

Early Monday, the Empire State Building was bathed in Giants blue. Later in the day, New York City will conduct a public giveaway for 250 winners for a post-parade ceremony at City Hall Plaza where the team will be given keys to the city.

"After nearly missing the playoffs, the Giants have made history by becoming the first NFL team to win the Super Bowl after going 9-7 in the regular season," New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said after the Sunday night win. "I look forward to celebrating this victory with all New Yorkers."

Clutching the championship trophy, Giants quarterback Eli Manning, the MVP award winner, said "I just stayed positive" during the seesaw struggle.

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Filed under: Football • Sports • Super Bowl • U.S. • World
Philippines issues local tsunami alert after quake hits between islands
Residents scamper to safety after a 6.8 earthquake hit Cebu City on Monday.
February 6th, 2012
12:57 AM ET

Philippines issues local tsunami alert after quake hits between islands

A 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck Monday off the third-largest island in the Philippines, prompting the country to issue a tsunami alert for the coastlines near the epicenter.

The quake struck about 11:49 a.m. (10:49 p.m. Sunday ET) about 70 kilometers (44 miles) from the coastal city of Dumaguete on the Philippine island of Negros, the USGS said.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology issued a level 2 tsunami alert for areas along the Tanon Strait between Negros and the neighboring island of Cebu.

That's a notch below the highest tsunami alert of level 3, which requires evacuation of the affected areas, a spokeswoman for the institute said.

She said the institute was advising people to watch out for unusual waves and to stay away from the shoreline.

No tsunami warning was issued for the wider Pacific region and there was no tsunami threat to Hawaii, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.

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Filed under: Earthquake • Natural Disasters • Philippines • Tsunami • Weather • World
M.I.A.'s middle finger punctuates Super Bowl halftime show
Rapper M.I.A. provided a middle finger salute to network cameras Sunday night.
February 6th, 2012
12:49 AM ET

M.I.A.'s middle finger punctuates Super Bowl halftime show

Ahead of her Super Bowl halftime show, singer Madonna promised there would be no "wardrobe malfunction." What she didn't guarantee was no obscene gestures.

Rapper M.I.A. provided a middle finger salute to network cameras Sunday night during the 12-minute extravaganza, when she joined Madonna during a performance of the latter's new single, "Give Me All Your Luvin.'"

The apologies from the NFL and NBC came quickly - they blamed each other.

"There was a failure in NBC's delay system," said Brian McCarty, the league's vice president of communications. "The obscene gesture in the performance was completely inappropriate, very disappointing, and we apologize to our fans."

"The NFL hired the talent and produced the halftime show," NBC said. "Our system was late to obscure the inappropriate gesture and we apologize to our viewers."

The episode was reminiscent of the 2004 Super Bowl when singer Janet Jackson's nipple was briefly exposed during a performance with singer Justin Timberlake.

The infamous "wardrobe malfunction" episode, as it came to be known, prompted the Federal Communications Commission to fine broadcaster CBS $550,000. In November, a divided 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the FCC improperly punished the network.

Since then, the NFL has maintained tight control over the show's production.

Fast forward to Sunday and what the NBC dubbed M.I.A's "spontaneous gesture."

As in 2004, the episode occurred when the New England Patriots were playing in the big game.

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