News MIDDAY UPDATE: Scores on state tests improved in most subjects; Army suicides hit two-decade high; Naomi Campbell charged in London airport incident

New data from the Georgia Department of Education shows students improved in the vast majority of subjects on a state-mandated exam.

The preliminary data bolsters claims by education officials that scores went up on most Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests where new curriculum has been in place two years or more. Scores plummeted on the sixth- and seventh-grade social studies test and the eighth-grade math test, both of which were in the first year of a new curriculum.

State officials say those scores aren’t comparable to previous years.

The high failure rates surprised students and angered parents, who say their children weren’t taught what was on the tests. The social studies scores have been thrown out, but education officials say the math scores are accurate.

– Associated Press

Army suicides reported at 2-decade high

Pentagon officials say there were fewer Army suicides last year than they had feared. But it was still the highest number in almost two decades.

Two defense officials said today that 108 troops committed suicide in 2007, the most since 1990. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the full report on the deaths wasn’t being released until later today.

Preliminary figures released in January showed as many as 121 troops killed themselves, but a number of the deaths were still being investigated then.

Suicides have been rising. The 108 last year followed 102 in 2006 and 85 in 2005.

The increases come despite a host of efforts to improve the mental health of a force stressed by lengthy and repeated deployments to Iraq.

– Associated Press

Naomi Campbell charged in London airport incident

Naomi Campbell has been charged with assaulting two police officers during an alleged luggage rage incident at Heathrow Airport, her lawyer and prosecutors said today.

The 38-year-old supermodel was charged when she reported to Heathrow police station to answer bail over the April 3 fracas, lawyer Simon Nicholls said.

The Crown Prosecution Service said Campbell faced six charges — three counts of assaulting a constable, two counts of using threatening, abusive words or behavior to the cabin crew and one count of disorderly conduct. Police said the assault charges related to two officers.

Campbell was ordered to appear at a west London magistrates’ court June 20.

Witnesses said Campbell was aboard a British Airways plane due to take off for Los Angeles when she became involved in a dispute over her luggage. Tens of thousands of bags had been separated from their owners at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 after its chaotic opening in late March.

Campbell was removed from the plane and held for eight hours at the airport police station before being released on bail.

– Associated Press


— Baldwin County Commissioner Collins P. Lee died last week. He had qualified to run again and had an opponent in the July primaries. We'll tell you more about Lee's death and what will happen with the election.

— Members of the American Legion are dedicating a new memorial for Korean War veterans today. We'll tell you about the service.


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