Brickbats

Brickbat: It Will Be Vacant Soon Enough

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Last year, New York City Mayor Eric Adams pledged to use $1 million in federal funds to transform vacant newsstands into places where bicycle delivery riders can rest, repair their bikes and recharge e-bikes. But one of the first newsstands targeted for the program is still currently in use. Ullah and Mostack Bhuiyan have owned and operated the Navila Newsstand in the Bronx since 2008. But the city Parks Department, which owns the site, said the duo's lease will expire at the end of March, and the lease will not be put back out to bid. "The mayor's office contacted me and said there was an empty, underused newsstand they wanted to use," said Rafael Moure-Punnett, district manager for Bronx Community Board 6. "I said, 'But it's not vacant!'  It seems like they had this mission from the beginning, and they weren't going to let the facts get in the way."

Brickbats

Brickbat: Cut the Cord

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The Indian government has declared a BBC documentary on deadly 2002 riots in the state of Gujarat to be propaganda and used emergency powers to ban it from YouTube, Twitter and other social media. Students at Jawaharlal Nehru University gathered for a screening of the documentary but someone cut the power. Current Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was chief minister of Gujarat back in 2002, and many Muslims accused him of condoning violence against them. The riots left more than 1,000 dead.

Brickbats

Brickbat: Wheel of Misfortune

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For the past seven years, Brevard County, Florida, Sheriff Wayne Ivey has hosted a weekly Wheel of Fugitive "game show" on Facebook in which he picks a fugitive of the week and asks viewers to keep an eye out for that person. David Austin Gay, who was featured on four episodes of the show in 2021, has sued Ivey, claiming he was not a fugitive at the time and lost a job because Ivey identified him as one on the show. In fact, a local newspaper found that Gay was one of 60 "fugitives" featured in episodes that aired between February 2020 and February 2021 who were in jail at the time the episode aired, had no active warrant, or were already free.

Brickbats

Brickbat: Supply and Demand

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Even as the National Health Service struggles with a shortage of doctors, the British government has ordered medical schools to hold to a previously announced cap and admit no more than 7,500 medical students this year. The cap was put in place to limit the cost of educating medical students. It costs the government £160,000 (about $200,000) to educate each new physician. Medical schools face financial penalties if they admit too many students.

Brickbats

Brickbat: Reckless Driving

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Addis, Louisiana, police officer David Cauthron has been charged with two counts of negligent homicide and one count of negligent injuring for his role in a high-speed chase on New Year's Eve that left two teens dead. The chase started after a man stole a family member's car. Cauthron reportedly ran a red light and slammed into an unrelated vehicle in which the teens were riding.

Politics

Brickbats: February 2023

News of politicians, police, and bureaucrats behaving badly from around the world.

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It took Rich Martinez six years, $30,000, and an act of the Kansas Legislature, but he finally got his 1959 Corvette back from the Kansas Highway Patrol. His ordeal began in 2016, when he bought the vehicle for $50,000 and tried to register it. The firm that had restored the car had placed the vehicle identification number plate back on with rivets instead of the required Phillips screws, so the state seized it out of suspicion it might have been stolen. It sustained an estimated $28,000 in damages while in the government's care.

A federal jury has found Clayton County, Georgia, Sheriff Victor Hill guilty on six of seven charges of violating the rights of jail inmates. Hill ordered deputies to place inmates in restraint chairs for lengthy periods of time as a form of punishment, even though the inmates had complied with deputies' orders. The chairs are supposed to be used only to prevent violent inmates from hurting themselves or others, not for discipline.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau decided not to wait for Parliament to pass the gun control bill that lawmakers have been debating since May. In October he announced an immediate freeze on the sale, transfer, and import of handguns.

In November, Massachusetts implemented a ban on throwing away mattresses, bedding, clothing, shoes, curtains, and towels. Officials said it's part of an effort to reduce waste in landfills. The new regulations have an exception for material that has mold or has been contaminated with bodily fluids, oil, hazardous substances, or insects.

Two plainclothes Montreal police officers were patrolling a shopping center when, they say, they spotted a car that appeared to have a damaged lock. As they were investigating it, a man attempted to take the car. They handcuffed the man and detained him, suspecting he was trying to steal it. After they realized he owned the car, they tried to release him—and realized that neither of them had keys to the handcuffs. They had to call for nearby officers to come unlock the cuffs.

The city of Delray Beach, Florida, has fired firefighter Brandon Hagans for reporting an elderly man was dead when he actually wasn't and then lying about his actions. A report found Hagans looked at the man's body for six seconds from a doorway during a routine call before calling the scene in as a death. Workers who came to the home over an hour later to remove the body found the man was still alive.

Mooresville, North Carolina, officials have ordered Josh's Farmers Market out of its location on two acres at a local YMCA. The farmers market is open only at specific times of the year. City officials nevertheless say it is a "full-time retail establishment," not an "outdoor seasonal market," and therefore must be kept inside a building. The YMCA has accrued $1,500 in fines for allowing the farmers market to operate.

A former Louisville, Kentucky, police officer used department software to help him hack the Snapchat accounts of young women to obtain sexually explicit photos and videos. Bryan Wilson provided data he obtained on the women to a hacker, who then broke into their accounts. Wilson then used those photos and videos to attempt to extort more sexually explicit material from the women. He has pleaded guilty to cyberstalking.

Brickbats

Brickbat: Don't Ever Take Sides Against the Family

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Poulsbo, Washington, city prosecutor Alexis Foster resigned following a no confidence vote from the union representing the city's police officers as well as criticism from the city's police chief and mayor. Foster's sin? She informed a court that a protection order request to seize a gun from a woman that had been filed by a city police officer contained false information. County prosecutors agreed with Foster and added the officer to the county's Brady list, a record of officers who have been documented to have given false information. An investigation found the misinformation was added by a police department social worker. The report said the officer did not spot the mistake and did not actually intend to file false information. Foster actually agreed with that assessment, and the officer was not otherwise disciplined. But she said the law required that the false statement be reported regardless of the officer's intent.

Brickbats

Brickbat: Didn't You See Me?

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The Waterbury, Connecticut, police department has fired officer James Hinkle for screaming at and berating a woman who drove through an intersection where he was directing traffic. Hinkle accused the woman of almost running him over, but in the video he appeared to be a few feet from her and actually ran towards the vehicle and slapped it when she entered the intersection. "I got two kids at home waiting for me to come home tonight," Hinkle shouted at her.

Brickbats

Brickbat: No Need for Any Testing

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Jane Carhuff crashed her car three times on the drive from her home to her doctor's office. When Puyallup, Washington, police officers and firefighters arrived, they found her incoherent. They tried to question her, and she mumbled something about being diabetic. Firefighters told the officers she wasn't having a medical episode and appeared to be intoxicated. So, the cops arrested her for driving under the influence without attempting any field sobriety tests. Her son bailed her out and took her to the emergency room the next day. According to a lawsuit, tests showed that she'd had a massive stroke, and the delay in getting her to the hospital meant that drugs used to reduce blood clots were of no use. The charges against Carhuff were dropped, and her family is now suing the city.

Brickbats

Brickbat: We'll Leave the Light on For You

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Since August 2021, the lights at Minnechaug Regional High School in Massachusetts have remained on 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The school building has a "green lighting system" that's supposed to save energy and money by adjusting the lights when a room is not in use. But the system broke more than a year ago and went into default mode, which keeps the lights on at all times, costing the school system thousands of dollars each month. The company the school bought the system from a decade ago has since changed hands several times, and they couldn't find anyone to fix it. But officials said they now have the parts they need and should be able to fix it during the February break.

Brickbats

Brickbat: Drop and Give Me 300

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Rockwell-Heath High School in Texas has placed football coach John Harrell on administrative leave after several team members were hospitalized following a post-season workout. The students were diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis, a serious and potentially fatal medical condition that happens when injured muscle tissue is released into the blood, possibly damaging the heart or kidneys. The workout involved completing more than 300 push-ups in 60 minutes. The Rockwell Independent School District has brought in an outside investigator to look into the incident.

Brickbats

Brickbat: I Bet He Was Pissed

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The government of South Sudan detained six journalists over video apparently showing President Salva Kiir urinating on himself. The video showed Kiir, 71, standing for the national anthem at an event for the commissioning of a road as a dark spot spread down his gray pants. The video was never broadcast, but it did leak on social media.

Brickbats

Brickbat: Close Enough

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Julie Hudson spent a week in a Pennsylvania jail because a police officer in Texas thought she looked like a robbery suspect. Hudson, a doctoral student at Holy Family University, had been told she had an outstanding warrant when she was turned down for a job she'd applied for. When she went to police to find out why, she was arrested on a warrant from Texas, a state she has never been to. It took seven days for police in Webster, Texas, to determine she wasn't the woman they were looking for. Why did they think she was? They'd been told the woman they were looking for was named Julie Hudson. They found her photos on social media and decided she was the woman in the store surveillance video.

Brickbats

Brickbat: A Valuable Lesson

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The Chicago Board of Ethics, the city inspector general, and the Chicago Public Schools inspector general are investigating after Mayor Lori Lightfoot's re-election campaign sent an email to teachers asking them to get their students to volunteer for Lightfoot's campaign. The letter suggested teachers should offer students class credit to get them to volunteer. Chicago's mayor appoints the city's school superintendent, as well as members of the Board of Education. In a statement, the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois said that the campaign's letter could also violate federal law.

Brickbats

Brickbat: A Real Ninja

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The Denver sheriff's office has suspended Deputy Daniel Rodriguez for 10 days, with seven of them suspended, for using excessive force on a man being booked into the jail. Rodriguez reportedly broke the man's wrist with nunchucks when the man fought with deputies. The sheriff's office has also barred deputies from carrying nunchucks.

Brickbats

Brickbat: Judge Not

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Former Monroe County, Arkansas, judge Thomas Carruth was charged with three counts of honest services wire fraud, three counts of using a facility in interstate commerce in furtherance of unlawful activity, one count of bribery, one count of making false statements, and one count of obstruction of justice. Federal prosecutors say Carruth solicited sex from a defendant's girlfriend in exchange for making the charges against her boyfriend move more quickly through the judicial system.

Brickbats

Brickbat: Rock the Casbah

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Algerian police have detained Ihsane El-Kadi and shut down his online radio station, Radio M, which is considered the last media outlet in the nation where political issues can be freely discussed. Officials have been cracking down on dissent since protest against the government erupted in 2020. This isn't the first time El-Kadi was arrested, but his family said they fear this time the government plans to keep him in prison.

Brickbats

Brickbat: Hear Nothing, Say Nothing

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Three Bellingham, Washington, high school administrators have been reassigned to the central office after being charged with failing to report a student's claim that she was sexually assaulted by another student. Maude Chimere Hackney, Meghan V. Dunham, and Jeremy Gilbert Louzao have pleaded not guilty. The student accused of assaulting the female student has been charged with felony indecent liberties by forcible compulsion.

Brickbats

Brickbat: When Students Aren't the Bullies

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A Nebraska City High School teacher and the two paraeducators who work in her classroom have been charged with child abuse after authorities said they were caught on audio and videotape abusing a special needs student. Teacher Melissa Valenta has been charged with felony child abuse, and aides Emily Kent and Deborah Stidd have been charged with misdemeanor child abuse. Officials said the three, among other things, hit the student with dodgeballs, made him sit in soiled pants, and made him mop floors and climb stairs for extended periods.

Brickbats

Brickbat: Do You Know Who I Am?

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The Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission has found that two Detroit judges, Demetria Brue and Debra Nance, violated judicial ethics when they used their positions to try to get a discount on bicycle rentals during a conference on Mackinac Island, threatened to accuse the owner of assault when he refused, and lied about the incident to investigators. Video from the bike shop showed Brue grab the receipt out of the owner's hand and tear it up. Investigators said Brue then said to the owner: "You assaulted me. Did you just assault me? You took my receipt and tore it up. I want the police. … I am a judge. … I am an African-American female. That was racist, and it was disrespectful and it was violent." They will now face a judge who will be appointed to determine what discipline, if any, they will receive.

Brickbats

Brickbat: Sail On

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Currently, people from the Philippines account for a quarter of the world's merchant mariners. But the European Commission is considering a move that would bar people from the Philippines from serving onboard ships registered in European Union countries. This follows a determination by the European Maritime Safety Agency that maritime education institutions in the Philippines didn't meet standards set by the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers. Under the proposed rule, the European Union would not recognize new competency certificates issued in the Philippines, though it would continue to recognize current certificates until they expire, which could be at most five years.

Brickbats

Brickbat: Bad Gas

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The Colorado Public Utilities Commission has passed rules that could make it more difficult and more expensive to build new natural gas pipelines or extend existing ones in the state. The rules require regulators to sign off on any pipeline construction plans by natural gas utilities with more than 90,000 customers. Utilities would have to pay the full costs of pipelines up front. Democratic Gov. Jared Polis has set a goal for natural gas utilities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 4 percent by 2025 and by 22 percent by 2030.

Brickbats

Brickbat: You Can't Say That

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Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has signed a bill expanding government control over the nation's news media. The law gives the National Council of Television and Radio Broadcasting authority to regulate online and print media, including the power to temporarily block online media outlets without a court order. It also gives the agency the power to ask social media platforms and search engines to remove content that violates the law. The National Union of Journalists of Ukraine warned that the bill would erode important freedoms that "distinguish the social system of Ukraine from the regime of dictatorial Russia."

Brickbats

Brickbat: Language Police

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Quebec business leaders say a new law taking effect this year that requires many companies to use the French language will increase their costs and could make it harder for them to serve clients overseas or even in the rest of Canada. Bill 96 requires firms with more than 25 employees to certify they conduct business primarily in French and to make sure other languages are spoken in the workplace as little as possible. The law also mandates that contracts be in French, even if both parties would prefer another language. Firms would also have to justify to regulators if they recruit employees who speak a language other than French. Companies that violate the law face fines of up to $30,000 (about $22,000 U.S.).

Brickbats

Brickbat: In the Weeds

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Hays, Kansas, Police Chief Don Scheibler says his officers did not "raid" the hospital room of Greg Bretz, 69, who is suffering from inoperable cancer, as media outlets had reported. Rather, he said, they just responded after a hospital worker reported Bretz for vaping marijuana to relieve his pain. And Scheibler wants you to know cops didn't arrest Bretz for possession, they merely issued a citation. He further wants you to know that the officer later felt bad about the citation and requested that it be revoked. The citation wasn't revoked, though, until after local media reported on the incident.

Brickbats

Brickbat: I Say a Little Prayer for You

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Isabel Vaughan-Spruce, director of March for Life U.K., has been charged with four counts of failing to comply with a "Public Space Protection Order" for silently praying outside an abortion clinic in Birmingham. The city has banned all forms of protest outside abortion clinics. Vaughan-Spruce was carrying no signs or photos.

Brickbats

Brickbat: Royal Disaster

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British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak says his government will introduce legislation that will allow the Office of Communications, Ofcom, to regulate streaming services such as Netflix and to fine them up to £250,000 ($301,375) for violating a code of conduct that law will establish. Ofcom already regulates British broadcasters. Sunak's announcement follows the airing on Netflix of a documentary on Meghan Markle and Prince Harry that was criticized for inaccuracies and alleged misleading editing.

Brickbats

Brickbat: Talk About Great Timing

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New York's Climate Action Council has ruled that all homes built after 2025 must have energy-efficient electric heat pumps or other heating systems that do not use fossil fuels. After 2030, owners of existing homes with heating systems that burn natural gas, propane, or heating oil will no longer be able to have them repaired and must replace them if they break with units that don't use fossil fuels. The council was established under a 2019 law to determine how the state will meet its greenhouse gas emissions targets.

Brickbats

Brickbat: See You Later

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Old Saybrook, Conn., Police Department Officer Josh Zarbo has been placed on administrative leave after being charged with computer crime. Zarbo ran the license plate of a woman he met at Walmart, where he was working security, and soon after that started following her on Instagram. Zarbo claims he ran her license plate because she seemed suspicious. But shortly before seeking that information, he texted a friend, "Bro I am gaming right now." That's apparently slang for trying to pick up women.

Brickbats

Brickbat: Shot in the Dark

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Shots have been fired into Michael Gill's Milwaukee home twice this year. Both times, he reported the shootings to police. So far, they haven't solved those crimes. But Gill did get a letter from the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office saying if it happened again, the house could be declared a nuisance and Gill fined. After a local TV station contacted the district attorney on Gill's behalf, the station was told the letter was sent in error.

Politics

Brickbats: January 2023

News of politicians, police, and bureaucrats behaving badly from around the world.

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Philadelphia Brewing Company customers will have to wait to sample the company's Harvest from the Hood pale ale. City workers cut down the brewery's hops after they'd been growing for six months, even though a building inspector had previously verified that it was a garden. "Regrettably, due to miscommunication and staff error, the hops were removed as they were initially marked as a violation as it appeared the lot was overgrown," said a city spokesperson.

Someone manually deleted 191 text messages from the phone of Seattle's then-mayor, Jenny Durkan, following the 2020 protests in response to the death of George Floyd. That's one finding from a forensic report included in a lawsuit filed by business owners and residents over damages during those protests. The report also found "factory resets" were done on the phones of six other city officials, including the police chief and the fire chief, Harold Scoggins, leading to the deletions of thousands of other text messages. Those texts should have been preserved under both state public records law and legal evidence rules.

A court in Myanmar has given a BBC journalist a second sentence of three years of hard labor for making contact with an outlawed pro-democracy group. Htet Htet Khine received her first three-year prison sentence on September 15 for violating a law barring "incitement" and "false news." According to the BBC, she had been traveling the country showing the impacts of Myanmar's internal conflicts. Since a military coup in 2021, the government has closed 12 media outlets and arrested 142 journalists.

The government of Haarlem, Netherlands, has banned ads for meat on buses and bus shelters and any other government-owned spaces. The ban also covers ads for fossil fuels, for vehicles with internal combustion engines, and for holiday flights. The move is aimed at reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.

Ottawa police officer Kristina Neilson has pleaded guilty to misconduct for donating $55 to the Freedom Convoy of truckers who protested the nation's COVID-19 restrictions in early 2022. The department's internal investigators and Ottawa's police chief described the protest as an "illegal occupation."

The Seattle City Council has unanimously approved a measure that would bar city employees and contractors from using gasoline-powered leaf blowers by 2025 and ban their use by city residents and businesses by 2027. Supporters cite noise and environmental concerns.

New Orleans city policy requires employees flying on city business to take the lowest airfare possible or to reimburse the city the difference if they upgrade. But in 2022, Mayor LaToya Cantrell charged $29,000 in first- and business-class airfare costs above what it would have cost her to fly coach. She has declared that the policy does not apply to her and that she will not refund any of that money to the city. Cantrell said in a press conference that she flies first class because it is safer: "Anyone who wants to question how I protect myself just doesn't understand the world black women walk in." Her aides fly coach.

Ayana Hanzawa, who teaches at a city-run elementary school in Fujimi, Japan, has been charged with suspicion of forcible obstruction of business. Police said she mixed bleach into a curry that was to be served to students in her class. No one ate any of the curry because the child in charge of serving it said it smelled bad. Hanzawa was reportedly upset because she had been transferred.

Brickbats

Brickbat: Speaking Freely

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The University of Idaho has agreed to pay $90,000 to settle a free-speech lawsuit brought by three members of the school's Christian Legal Society and the group's faculty adviser. The school issued a no-contact order against the four after a female student complained the students harassed her. The female student had asked the CLS students why they opposed gay marriage. They explained they believed the Bible supports only marriage between a man and a woman. One of them later left a note for the female student offering to discuss the matter further.

Brickbats

Brickbat: Want To Know Why the Rent Is Too Damn High?

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Michael Markellos and his mother own a 10-unit apartment complex in Chicago. He said his tax bill last year for all 10 units combined was $23,674. This year, the bill is $128,282 dollars, up 440 percent. "I was outraged. These are basically simple one-bedroom units for college graduates who work downtown," said Markellos. "They would have to pay $5,000-$6,000 to pay the bills. No one in their right mind will pay that." A local TV station asked the tax assessor's office why the bill had gone up. A spokesperson said the office had previously assessed multi-unit apartment buildings as commercial properties. It now considers them residential properties.

Brickbats

Brickbat: Maybe Your Next Flight Should Be on a Train

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The French government says it will ban flights between cities connected by trains if the train trip* take less than two and a half hours. Officials said the move is aimed at increasing train ridership and cutting greenhouse gas emissions. The ban will begin next year and will last three years, but it could be extended.

* This brickbat has been corrected to reflect that the ban is connected to the length of the train trip.

Brickbats

Brickbat: Brazil Nuts

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After Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro passed a series of measures making it easier to own firearms, the number of gun owners in that nation soared. But Bolsonaro lost a reelection campaign earlier this year to Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, and a spokesman for Lula said he plans to not only reverse those measures when he takes office next year but tax or maybe even ban gun ownership.

Brickbats

Brickbat: That Smell

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Agriculture accounts for about half of New Zealand's exports. The nation is the largest dairy exporter in the world. But farmers are warning that could change if the government adopts a planned tax on the burps, farts, and excrement of cattle. Government officials said the tax is part of their plan to cut methane emissions 10 percent by 2030 and become carbon neutral by 2050.

Brickbats

Brickbat: A Little Too Late

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A federal judge in Massachusetts has refused to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the family of Shayne Stilphen, who died of an overdose while in the custody of the Boston Police Department. Judge Richard G. Stearns said the complaint offers "both subjective and objective reasons for the officers to understand that Stilphen faced substantial risk of serious harm unless provided immediate medical care." The complaint said Stilphen was showing obvious signs of opioid intoxication when he was booked into the jail, with security video showing him having trouble standing up without help from officers. Video showed officers walking by his cell several times over a period of almost an hour where they could see he was slumped over. Finally, one officer walked by and saw his body folded into an uncomfortable position and administered Narcan, but it was too late.

Brickbats

Brickbat: Baby, You Can't Drive Your Car

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Anticipating possible electricity shortages this winter, the Swiss Federal Council has drafted a set or ordinances to limit the use of electricity. One of the proposals would ban most uses of electric vehicles, confining them only to necessary travel, such as to buy groceries or to go to the doctor. That rule would come into effect at stage three of an electricity emergency, as would limits on retail store hours and a mandate that thermostats in most private or public rooms be set below 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

Brickbats

Brickbat: What a Pill

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Makayla Crandall, a school health technician at Florida's Destin Middle School, was charged with three counts of grand theft of a controlled substance, five counts of child neglect, and one count of failure to maintain narcotics records. The Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office said Crandall stole prescription medicines she was supposed to be holding for and administering to students, including Adderall. In some cases, she replaced the medicines with over-the-counter pain relievers.

Brickbats

Brickbat: Close Enough for Police Work

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The ACLU has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Ruby Johnson, 77, whose home was raided by a Denver SWAT team looking for stolen items after her house was pinged as the location of a stolen iPhone by the "Find My" app. According to a copy of the affidavit police used to obtain the warrant, the iPhone's owner told officers the app indicated Johnson's home as its location. The lawsuit said that police did not independently confirm the stolen items were at the home. And, according to reporters who have seen the affidavit, the area identified on the app as the location of the phone actually spanned four blocks and included six properties.

Brickbats

Brickbat: Officer Down

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Bear, a K9 with the Boone County, Iowa, sheriff's office, died after spending 22 hours in the truck of his partner, Sgt. Dallas Wingate. Temperatures reached 89 degrees that September day, which experts said meant the temperature inside the vehicle could have reached 135 degrees. Wingate said he placed the dog in the truck after Bear began barking at a deer. He forgot about the dog until the following evening. Wingate was put on leave after the death and later resigned. The dog's death is still under investigation, and Wingate could face criminal charges.

Brickbats

Brickbat: Flatlining

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The German government is denying reports that it plans to ban energy price increases next year. Rather, it says it plans to require energy companies to prove that any increases in electricity or natural gas prices are necessary before it will allow them. Companies would have to prove that they are facing higher costs that would force them to increase the prices they charge.

Brickbats

Brickbat: For(ced) Rent

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The New York City Special Commissioner of Investigation's office has confirmed it is looking into claims by public school teachers brought from the Dominican Republic that they are forced to live in an illegal boarding house owned by several school administrators. The teachers told the New York Post they were told if they refused to stay there they would lose their jobs and possibly their visas. City rules bar teachers from having any sort of financial relationship with any administrators.

Brickbats

Brickbat: Buying the Farm

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The government of the Netherlands said it plans to buy and close 2,000 to 3,000 farms and businesses to meet European Union nitrogen pollution-reduction goals. The government insists it will offer more than the farms and businesses are worth. But Nitrogen Minister Christianne van der Wal warned that if the owners do not voluntarily accept the offer, it will, "with pain in the heart," force them to sell. "There is no better offer coming," she said.

Brickbats

Brickbat: Everyone's a Critic

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A court in Fiji has found attorney Richard Naidu guilty of contempt of court for a post he made on Facebook. In the post, Naidu pointed out a misspelling in a court decision. Naidu had been tapped by the National Federation Party, which is currently the opposition party in the legislature, as a candidate for the Dec. 14 election for the legislature. But the conviction will bar him from running.

Brickbats

Brickbat: Our Final Offer

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Christine Gauthier, a paraplegic former member of the Canadian army, told members of the House of Commons that she contacted Veterans Affairs Canada trying to find out why it was taking so long to get a wheelchair ramp in her home. She said she got a letter back offering her assisted suicide instead. "I have a letter saying that if you're so desperate, madam, we can offer you MAID, medical assistance in dying," said Gauthier. Gauthier said she has been trying to get the ramp for five years.

Brickbats

Brickbat: Doing His Duty

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The Kansas Commission on Peace Officers' Standards and Training has revoked the law enforcement certification of Justin Herb, a former Topeka police officer, saying he was guilty of "exploiting or misusing the position as an officer to establish or attempt to establish a financial, social, sexual, romantic, physical, inmate or emotional relationship." According to the commission, Herb engaged in sex with his girlfriend while on duty, provided her with extra patrols at property she owned, and ran license plate numbers for her. The commission said he provided those services to her during periods when they were having sex, but denied them during periods when they had broken up.

Brickbats

Brickbat: Walking the Dog

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Members of the Hammersmith and Fulham Council in London, England, are considering an ordinance that would fine dog walkers £100 ($120 U.S.) if they are not carrying bags to pick up their pets' poop. The bill would allow police to stop and search people to make sure they are complying with the law. The ordinance would also limit people from walking more than four dogs at a time.

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