NEWS CLUES: It’s Like Adderall For Your Eyeballs

INCONVENIENT TRUTH: 2007 Was The Warmest Year In Recorded History
yellowsun.gif 2007 was another record-breaking year for the Earth’s climate. This week’s report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows that 2007 was the warmest ever for all the land areas on Earth and the tenth warmest on record for the US. Temple University Geology Professor Laura Toran says she’s not surprised: “We’ve been seeing this trend over the last ten years really. The top five warmest years on record are all ones we’ve lived through in the last ten years, and if you look at the top ten years on record, seven or eight of them have been in the last ten years.” Highlights of the NOAA study include two intense heat waves in Russia and Southeastern Europe, and a blast furnace that descended over the US in August when more than 2,000 new daily high temperature records were set. [via KYW]

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SPECIAL ED: Why Johnny Can’t Reed Read…Write, Add Or Subtract

readingkillstrees_1.jpgTens of thousands of Pennsylvania high school seniors who failed state math and reading tests got “empty diplomas” last year because they had not learned basic skills, Pennsylvania Education Secretary Gerald Zahorchak says. Statewide, 45 percent of the 127,000 seniors failed the tests, leading Zahorchak to lament that diplomas were awarded to many who “show up and shut up.” Zahorchak used that statistic to push for rules that would require most of this year’s sixth graders to pass either the PSSA – Pennsylvania’s No Child Left Behind benchmark test – or a new set of state tests before they could graduate in 2014. The proposed regulations are scheduled for an initial vote today by the state Board of Education. To go into effect, the rules must undergo a lengthy review, including legislative scrutiny. Seniors are already supposed to meet state standards to graduate, but school districts do not have to prove that the students have in fact mastered the required skills. As a result, many aren’t prepared when they show up for work or college, Zahorchak said. The problem is not limited to struggling urban schools. [via INQUIRER]

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ROUGH JUSTICE: 71 Year-Old-Man Gets Life For Shooting Diamond Thief Dead

gun.gifPHILADELPHIA (AP) _ A 71-year-old theft victim who retaliated by shooting his assailant seven times at close range has been sentenced to life in prison. Barry Mason is a tool repairman who had no prior criminal record before being convicted of murdering 19-year-old Jamil Burton of South Philadelphia. In August 2006, Mason was stopped in his car at a red light when Burton rode by on his bicycle. Burton reached in and snatched off Mason’s neck a necklace that held an $18,000 diamond ring. Mason then pursued Burton and killed him in a downtown park with a gun he was licensed to carry. Mason was ordered this week to serve a mandatory life sentence. His attorney intends to appeal. [via ASSOCIATED PRESS]

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