Global fatal shark attacks up in 2011; none were in US

Posted Feb. 08, 2012, at 8:39 p.m.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A new report finds that fatal shark attacks worldwide last year reached their highest level in two decades, though there were none in the U.S.

The University of Florida released its International Shark Attack File report for 2011 on Tuesday.

The U.S. and Florida saw a five-year downturn in the number of reported unprovoked attacks.

But ichthyologist George Burgess says the 12 fatalities could show tourists are venturing to more remote places with less access to immediate medical care. The number of deaths in 2011 doubled from 2010.

A total of 75 attacks were reported worldwide, which is close to the decade average. Florida led the U.S. with 11 of the nation’s 29 attacks.

More photos found in Calif. teacher abuse case

LOS ANGELES — Investigators said Wednesday they have found 200 additional photos they believe were taken by a former teacher who is accused of committing lewd acts on 23 children over a five-year period.

The photos were found late last week at the same pharmacy where a photo lab technician had first noticed odd pictures that led to Mark Berndt’s arrest, said sheriff’s Lt. Carlos Marquez. The recent discovery brings the total number of photos to roughly 600.

Berndt has been charged with lewd acts on children between 2005 and 2010. Some of the photos show children ages 6 to 10 blindfolded, their mouths taped and being fed a milky, white liquid authorities believe was semen. The new batch of photos depicts similar poses, Marquez said.

Berndt taught at Miramonte Elementary School, where the entire staff was replaced this week amid outrage from parents.

The furor led two parents to come forward last week to complain that teacher Martin Springer, who had worked at the school for 26 years, fondled two second-grade girls in his classroom.

Springer, 49, pleaded not guilty Tuesday after he was charged with committing lewd acts upon one girl in 2009. Bail was set at $300,000.

Professor predicts popularity for inhalable caffeine

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — A Harvard professor thinks the next big thing will be people inhaling their caffeine from a lipstick-sized tube. Critics say the novel product is not without its risks.

The product, called AeroShot, went on the market late last month in Massachusetts and New York, and is also available in France. A single unit costs $2.99 at convenience, mom-and-pop, liquor and online stores.

Biomedical engineering professor David Edwards said AeroShot is safe and does not contain common additives, like taurine, used to amplify the caffeine effect in common energy drinks. Each grey-and-yellow plastic canister contains 100 milligrams of caffeine powder, about the amount in a large cup of coffee, plus B vitamins.

But Democratic U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer of New York wants the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to review AeroShot, saying he fears it will be used as a club drug so that young people can drink until they drop.

Mo. teen gets life, with possible parole, for killing 9-year-old girl

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A central Missouri teenager who confessed to strangling, cutting and stabbing a 9-year-old girl because she wanted to know how it felt to kill someone was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

Alyssa Bustamante, 18, pleaded guilty in January to second-degree murder and armed criminal action in the October 2009 slaying of Elizabeth Olten in St. Martins, a small rural town west of Jefferson City.

The judge also ordered the teen to serve a consecutive 30-year term on the armed criminal action charge.

Bustamante was 15 when she confessed to strangling Elizabeth, stabbing her in the chest and slicing the girl’s throat. She led police to the shallow grave where she had concealed Elizabeth’s body under a blanket of leaves in the woods near their neighborhood.

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