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Dec. 12, 2012 at 10:06 PM
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Census: School-age poverty up

WASHINGTON, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- The percentage of school-age children living in poverty grew between 2007 and 2011 in one quarter of U.S. counties, the Census Bureau said Wednesday.

While 832 counties had a statistically significant increase in the school-age poverty rate, 10 counties saw the rate drop significantly, statisticians said.

The bureau released its Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates, which are among the factors used to determine federal aid to local schools. The estimates combine information from the bureau's American Community Survey, the 2000 and 2010 censuses, federal income tax filings and applications for federal nutrition assistance.

The bureau said there was a significant increase in poverty among children aged 5 to 17 in 26 percent of the counties. The bureau compared 2011 with 2007, the last year before the recession began.

A total of 83 counties had increases in school-age poverty between 2010 and 2011, while 23 had declines.

Etan Patz suspect recants

NEW YORK, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- The attorney for the mentally ill New York bodega worker who allegedly confessed to the 1979 kidnapping and killing of Etan Patz said his client is recanting.

Attorney Harvey Fishbein said Pedro Hernandez, 51, made "a false confession," the New York Daily News reported. The confession is the only evidence prosecutors have against Hernandez, Fishbein said.

Hernandez, who is bipolar and suffers auditory and visual hallucinations, pleaded innocent during a hearing Thursday. He has been in custody since May.

Hernandez, who now lives in Maple Shade, N.J., was a clerk at a convenience store near 6-year-old Etan's home when he disappeared on his way to a school bus stop -- the first time the boy's parents ever let him walk the route alone. The case rocked New York City and reverberated across the nation, forever changing how missing children cases are handled. Etan was the first child ever put on the back of a milk carton and the day he disappeared, May 25, is now National Missing Children Day.

Prosecutors told CBS they would move forward with the case despite there being no evidence except the confession. A box containing children's underwear and toy cars was found at Hernandez' home but couldn't be conclusively linked to Etan.

Police long suspected another man, Jose Ramos, a convicted child molester who was dating Etan's babysitter at the time of his disappearance. Ramos was found responsible for Etan's death in a civil case in 2004 but prosecutors said they lacked evidence to bring criminal charges.

A judge has ordered a mental health evaluation for Hernandez to see whether he is fit to stand trial.

Florida A&M on year probation

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Florida A&M University has been placed on a year's probation for failing to meet basic educational standards, the school's accrediting agency said.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools-Commission on Colleges, meeting in Dallas, Tuesday, highlighted deficiencies in the school's finances, school safety, operational "integrity" and leadership and was sparked in large part by the hazing death of marching band drum major Robert Champion in 2011, the Orlando Sentinel reported Wednesday.

Larry Robinson, interim president of the Tallahassee college, called an emergency meeting of the board of trustees, and stressed in a news conference the school's academic programs were not in question.

"These are very serious issues and we're going to be working on them. None of them pertain to academic standards at the institution," he said.

The accrediting commission also determined FAMU failed to comply with a key standard meant to ensure student safety, and Robinson said that finding probably is related to Champion's beating death after a football game.

The group also said the school failed to operate with "integrity in all matters" and did not comply with standards of "qualified administrative and academic officers with the experience and competence to lead the institution," commission documents said.

Police use of Google Translate 'mistake'

COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Police officers in Denmark made a mistake when they used Google Translate on a text message while questioning a terrorism suspect, a spokesman says.

The suspect's attorney says the result was a mistranslation that caused his client to break down, The Copenhagen Post reported. The man, an ethnic Kurd, was suspected of donating money to the Kurdistan Workers Party or PKK through Roj TV, a Kurdish station headquartered in Copenhagen.

The European Union classifies the party, which is active mainly in Turkey, as a terrorist organization.

Thorkild Hoyer, the lawyer representing the 50-year-old man, said the mistranslation violates a law barring police from giving misinformation during questioning.

"But it is even more serious in a case involving allegations of terrorism, and in which the accused are being held on remand," he told the newspaper Politiken.

Copenhagen Police Inspector Svend Foldager told Politiken the incident was the only one he knows of where police have turned to Google Translate. The mistranslation was later caught by an interpreter.

"There is not much to say other than it was a mistake," he said. "I know only of this one instance and I've never heard of it happening before."

The mistranslation was of a text-message in Turkish sent out en masse to announce a meeting. It was translated as "I call a meeting."

Roj TV has appealed a fine of 5.2 million kronor ($911,000).

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