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July 14, 2003

Officials close circumcision schools following deaths
iAfrica | Submitted by: Tim Howard
"Five traditional surgeons have been arrested in the Eastern Cape after 20 initiates died following botched circumcisions since the start of the initiation season around early June, the provincial health department said on Monday. ... Kupelo said officials from the provincial health department and the police had to date closed 17 illegal circumcision schools."

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Falun Gong cult member poisons 17, says China
Xinhua News Agency | Submitted by: Reid Fleming
"A follower of the Falun Gong cult has shocked society by poisoning 17 innocent people, most beggars or vagrants, from May 25 to June 27 this year under the Falun Gongcult doctrines, according to a commentary to be carried in Tuesday's People's Daily. By now more than 1,700 innocent people have been killed by Falun Gong cult followers in practicing the cult's doctrines of 'clearing crimes committed in a previous life' or 'complete oneself in this life' either by killing themselves or killing others. ... The crime once again showed that the cult still threatens society's stability and safety and the crimes once again ridicule the cult's so-called doctrines of 'truth, kindness and tolerance,' the commentary says."

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Terrorism Information Awareness on chopping block
Wired | Submitted by: Tim Howard
"The controversial Terrorism Information Awareness program, which would troll Americans' personal records to find terrorists before they strike, may soon face the same fate Congress meted out to John Ashcroft in his attempt to create a corps of volunteer domestic spies: death by legislation. ... The Senate bill's language is simple but comprehensive: 'No funds appropriated or otherwise made available to the Department of Defense ... or to any other department, agency or element of the Federal Government, may be obligated or expended on research and development on the Terrorism Information Awareness program.'"

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Feds divert small business funds to megacorporations
Charlotte Observer | Submitted by: FaceInTheSea
"They are among America's larger companies: Verizon Communications, AT&T Wireless, Barnes & Noble booksellers and Dole Food Co. But in the government's contractor database, they are listed as small businesses. The mistaken designations... mean the government has overstated the contract dollars that are going to small business at a time when the Bush administration has been pressing to give smaller companies as much federal work as possible. ... Once a company's status is mischaracterized, it stays that way through the life of a contract -- which can be 20 years. That means smaller firms that the administration intended to help may be frozen out from fresh business by the bigger companies with the incorrect designations." Coincidentally, one of the miscategorized firms is a subsidiary of Halliburton.

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Coma victim in for rude awakening
Sun | Submitted by: Tim Howard
"The dad who woke after 19 years in a coma is about to discover his wife has had three kids by another man and his baby daughter is now a stripper. Road smash victim Terry Wallis will also learn his family is locked in a bitter feud that has raged since his accident in 1984. Terry, 39, last saw his wife Sandi when she was 17 and their daughter Amber was just six months old."

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Linguist reviving gay dialect
Guardian | Submitted by: Reid Fleming
"Paul Baker, a lecturer at Lancaster University, has been researching the dialect for six years and has written three books on the subject, including a dictionary of more than 200 words and phrases. ... The origins of Polari probably lie in the 19th-century slang Parlyaree used by fairground and circus people, as well as prostitutes and beggars, and it also has links to the older vocabularies of other stigmatised groups or outsiders such as thieves' cant, cockney rhyming slang, yiddish and the lingua franca of sailors. Usage reached its peak in the repressive 1950s when being gay was illegal and dangerous: men lived in constant fear of blackmail, exposure and the humiliation of electric shock and hormone 'treatments,' as well as imprisonment."

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Lawyer charged with mailing live, venomous snake
Canada.com | Submitted by: Sellasia
"A lawyer and his son have been charged with making threats [and] for allegedly mailing a live, poisonous snake to another man. The federal indictment released Thursday charges Bob Sam Castleman and his son, Robert Jerrod Castleman, with mailing a threatening communication and mailing non-mailable matter with intent to injure or kill. ... The indictment did not explain what led to the alleged snake incident."

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Man belonging to white supremacy group not a white supremacist
Asbury Park Press | Submitted by: Reid Fleming
"A borough councilman with ties to a national white supremacist group will resign the post he has held for less than two weeks. Marc Moran announced Saturday that he would step down, just one day after he vowed to retain the council seat to which he was appointed. ... Moran acknowledged he belongs to the National Alliance, a West Virginia group that promotes segregationist living and 'Aryan values.' He denied being a racist or an anti-Semite and said he joined the group because he agrees with its views on illegal immigration and civil liberties."

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Foster child discovered bound, gagged in closet
KMGH-TV 7 Denver | Submitted by: Tim Howard
"A Denver foster mother faced charges of child abuse Friday after a 15-year-old developmentally disabled girl was found bound in a closet by a social worker. ... According to investigators, the teenager was found last month in the basement closet of Royal's home with a sock stuffed in her mouth. The girl had been placed backward into a pair of footed-pajamas and her arms were bound to her body with a T-shirt, sweat pants, shirt and panty hose... The girl was found kneeling in the closet with the lights off and the door closed, police said."

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Man gets 5 years for ripping up king's picture
Independent Online | Submitted by: Sad Sam
"A Moroccan street vendor has been sentenced to a year in prison for tearing up a calendar that contained a portrait of King Mohammed VI, according to a report published on Monday. An appeals court in the southern resort city of Agadir convicted 30-year-old Boujemaa Ouardi earlier this month for 'outrage to the person of the king,' the French-language weekly Le Journal reported. A lower court had sentenced Ouardi to five years in prison -- the maximum penalty allowed by the Moroccan constitution for offences to the king, whose image is considered 'inviolable and sacred.'"

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Australia pursuing nuclear weapons, maybe
News Corporation | Submitted by: poorjon
"Australia is giving itself the option of becoming a nuclear power through a deal with the US to obtain nuclear weapons and extensive investment in atomic expertise, it has been claimed. A leading strategic policy expert says Australia is forging an understanding with the US that would ensure quick access to 'off the shelf' tactical nuclear weapons during a crisis. And a former senior Howard Government science adviser says the new $600 million reactor at Lucas Heights will ensure Australia has the skills and technology to launch a nuclear weapons program. ... A spokeswoman for the Federal Government said the claims were 'absurd'. 'Australia is a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and has made a legal commitment to not acquire nuclear weapons, and this is enshrined in legislation,' spokeswoman Willie Herron said."

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New Jersey killing Canadians in gas chamber
Canadian Broadcasting | Submitted by: poorjon
" About 100,000 Canada geese have crossed the border into a New Jersey county, flapping among the residents and leaving their droppings wherever they go. ... Local officials call the geese a nuisance, saying their droppings are causing health and safety problems. The county has rounded up hundreds of geese and killed them in portable gas chambers, angering animal lovers."

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Murder suspect arrested outside anger management class
home.hamptonroads.com | Submitted by: The Good Doctor
"A man wanted in connection with a shooting last month in Durham, N.C., that killed a woman and injured three others, including a toddler, was apprehended late Wednesday as he left an anger management class here. Brian Keith Hargrove, 29, of Clarksville, was picked up as he left Sentencing Options... [He] had been ordered by a judge to attend a domestic violence counseling program for a previous assault conviction in Norfolk, court records show."

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American Idol viewers petitioning feds for recount
WKMG-TV 6 Orlando | Submitted by: Tim Howard
"Fans are still stinging over Clay Aiken's loss of the American Idol title to Ruben Studdard -- and they want the Federal Communications Commission to do something about it. According to the Smoking Gun Web site, Aiken's fans have 'swamped' the agency with letters that accuse the Idol network Fox of sabotaging his chances of winning the competition and are calling for an investigation of the voting process claiming that the network limited his fans' ability to get through on phone lines."

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Mathematician analyzes Supreme Court justices
Science News | Submitted by: prettynwitty
"The U.S. Supreme Court -- already in the news this week for its decisions on affirmative action -- is highlighted in a scientific journal. ... Lawrence Sirovich, a mathematician at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, calculated that the current Supreme Court of nine judges behaves as if it were made up of about 4.68 'ideal' judges -- adjudicators who make their decisions completely independently of each other. To put that figure in perspective, Sirovich says, a court with a strict liberal-conservative divide would behave as if it had only one judge because all decisions would be determined purely by which faction made up the majority."

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Dad brings 7-year-old barhopping
nettavisen.no | Submitted by: optional
"As a 37-year-old Norwegian man fell asleep on the street, extremely drunk after a night on the town in Denmark, his 7-year-old son was watching over him. ... At the end of the evening the father was so drunk he fell asleep on the pavement, according to Dagbladet. The man's 7-year-old son was sat on the pavement watching over his drunken dad. After a while, some locals discovered the father and his son and called the police, who arrived just after midnight."

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Marijuana doctor could lose medical license
Sacramento Bee | Submitted by: Tim Howard
"A doctor who recommended that thousands of his patients use marijuana is facing charges that could cost him his medical license, but the physician and his supporters say the case is merely an attempt to hush a vocal advocate for medicinal use of the drug. Tod H. Mikuriya, 69, wrote marijuana recommendations for 7,500 of his patients without conducting sufficient medical examinations, according to officials with the Medical Board of California, which has moved to revoke or suspend the doctor's license. ... Mikuriya, a psychiatrist specializing in the history of medical cannabis, insists marijuana is very effective in alleviating chronic pain, muscle spasms, depression and alcoholism."

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Death row prisoner claims genetic predisposition
Court TV | Submitted by: Tim Howard
"As a troubled youngster, Landon May worried he had inherited 'bad blood' from his father, a notorious killer on Pennsylvania's death row. Now, on death row himself for the torture killings of a school principal and her husband, May is hoping the state Supreme Court might give him another chance to argue he was fated to follow in his father's violent footsteps. In an unusual appeal, May's lawyer said experts should have been allowed to testify when jurors were deliberating May's sentence that he was genetically predisposed to violence, given his family history."

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Hit-and-run motorist beaten twice by eyewitnesses
WKMG-TV 6 Orlando | Submitted by: skeletor
"A motorist who allegedly hit and killed a 3-year-old boy was dragged from his car and beaten by a group of men who saw the crash... More than a dozen men, friends of the boy's father, saw the crash and stopped the car about a half-block away... The men dragged Martinez, 37, out of the driver's seat and punched him in the head several times... After the beating, Martinez walked back to see how the child was doing, then said he was going to leave because he didn't have a driver's license... The group of men pounced on him again."

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