Michigan boy finds finger piece in Arby’s sandwich

Posted May 17, 2012, at 8:58 p.m.

JACKSON, Mich. — A Michigan teen finishing off an Arby’s roast beef sandwich chomped down on something tough that tasted like rubber, so he spit it out.

Turns out it tasted like finger. The fleshy, severed pad of an unfortunate employee’s finger, apparently.

Ryan Hart, 14, told the Jackson Citizen Patriot on Wednesday that once he got a good look at it, he knew right away what had been in the junior roast beef sandwich he was eating last Friday.

“I was like, ‘That [has] to be a finger,’” Hart said. “It was just nasty.”

The employee apparently cut her finger on a meat slicer and left her station without immediately telling anyone, said Steve Hall, the environmental health director for the Jackson County health department. Her co-workers continued filling orders until they found out what had happened, he said.

Study: Millions of students chronically absent

PHILADELPHIA — Up to 7.5 million students miss nearly a month of school each year, making them much more likely to drop out before they graduate, according to a new national report.

What’s more startling is that only six states track chronic absenteeism in schools, according to a study by Johns Hopkins University researchers released Thursday at events in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

“No one is measuring this most fundamental thing — are kids attending school regularly” said Robert Balfanz, one of the Johns Hopkins researchers who worked on the study. “You can’t even analyze what’s working in closing the achievement gap without looking first at chronic absenteeism.”

The study marks the first time researchers have tracked the prevalence of students who habitually miss school.

The researchers estimate that up to 15 percent of students nationally are considered chronically absent. That spikes up to one-third of students in urban and rural areas, where students may be poor and come from families with little education.

As a result, students who typically need more help to be successful academically are the ones missing the most school.

Researchers found absenteeism to be highest in kindergarten and in high school.

A student is considered chronically absent if they missed at least a month of school in a year, or about 10 percent. Some schools had the equivalent of entire classrooms of students missing that much or more each year, the researchers found.

The federal government doesn’t track the problem, and neither do most states. The only states that keep up with it are Georgia, Florida, Maryland, Nebraska, Oregon and Rhode Island.

Because of the limited data, Balfanz cautions that the study is an “educated guess” about the scope of the problem.

War crimes trial of Bosnian Serb leader Ratko Mladic is suspended

LONDON — The war crimes trial of Ratko Mladic, the Bosnian Serb military leader during the Balkans war of the 1990s, was suspended Thursday after the judge declared that the prosecution had failed to hand over evidence to the defense.

Presiding Judge Alfons Orie told the court in The Hague, Netherlands, that “in light of the prosecution’s significant disclosure errors … the chamber hereby informs the parties that it has decided to suspend the start of the presentation of evidence.”

He said the court would review “the scope and the full impact of this error” and would announce a restart date for the 2-day-old trial “as soon as possible.”

The ruling came after Peter McCloskey, speaking for the prosecution, wound up his opening statement before the International Criminal Tribunal. He had outlined what prosecutors say are the crimes that Mladic, as commander of the Bosnian Serb army, committed during the 1992-95 fighting in Bosnia-Herzegovina that accompanied the breakup of the former Yugoslavia.

Bus cannibal wins right to leave mental hospital

WINNIPEG, Manitoba — A man who beheaded and cannibalized a fellow passenger on a Greyhound bus in Canada won his bid to leave the grounds of the mental hospital where he is being kept, a criminal review board ruled Thursday.

The Criminal Code review board said Vince Li’s treatment team may grant him short escorted trips into the central Canadian city of Selkirk, Manitoba. The review board said the passes will start at 30 minutes and increase incrementally to a maximum of full days.

Li was found not criminally responsible for the July 2008 death of Tim McLean, a young carnival worker who was sitting next to Li on a bus near Portage la Prairie.

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