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December 17, 2003

Witch doctor killed despite bulletproof talisman
News 24 South Africa | Submitted by: ruiner
"A traditional doctor in central Nigeria has been shot dead by a patient who was testing the potency of an anti-bullet charm the herbalist had prepared for him, police said on Wednesday. Ashi Terfa died when patient Umaa Akor fired a gun at his head two weeks ago in south-central Benue state, police spokesperson Bode Fakeye said... 'To confirm its efficacy, the herbalist tied the charm around his neck and insisted that Akor should fire a gun at him. The experiment proved fatal for the herbalist and his skull was shattered.'" [This is what happens when empiricism meets superstition.]

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Saddam's brainwashing may now begin
USA Today | Submitted by: MikeW
"Saddam Hussein is being shown videotapes of anti-Saddam protests in Iraq, the unearthing of mass graves and the torture and execution of prisoners during his reign, two U.S. officials who are receiving reports on his interrogation said Tuesday... Eventually, he will be quizzed more specifically about chemical and biological weapons, countries that may have helped Iraq with its weapons programs and Iraq's ties to al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups, they said."

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Catholic cardinal upset over Saddam's treatment
Wire Services | Submitted by: Catholic for birth control
"Cardinal Renato Martino, head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, said he felt compassion for Saddam and that the world should have been spared the images of his medical examination after his capture. Cardinal Martino said Saddam Hussein should face trial for his crimes, but stressed the Vatican's opposition to the death penalty and criticised the US military for portraying him 'like a cow' having his teeth checked."

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Church pastor pleads guilty to serial burglary
Ohio Courier | Submitted by: BeauCoup
"An Arlington man, who had led a village church congregation before being caught breaking into church members' homes, asked God - and a judge - for forgiveness at his sentencing hearing Wednesday in Hancock County Common Pleas Court... [Thomas A. Willow] had been a pastor in Arlington for about three years when he was caught inside a church member's home near Bluffton in January. He resigned from the church the next month. In August, after a sheriff's investigation determined he had entered two other homes, Willow was charged with three counts of burglary, each a fourth-degree felony."

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Dad urges 6-year-old to stab mom
South Florida Sun-Sentinel | Submitted by: drunaus
"Edward Munao, 38, of 4428 S.E. Hamilton Lane, faces a felony charge of solicitation to commit first degree murder in connection with the alleged efforts to have the boy kill his ex-girlfriend, who is the boy's mother. The case began last month when Jodi Walsh, 34, of Port St. Lucie, told police that Munao, her former boyfriend and the father of her 6-year-old son, had been telling the son 'to stab her and kill her,' a police report stated."

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Daughters forced to whip each other
pub.tv2.no | Submitted by: Tommy G
"A couple in Sweden is charged of abusing their two daughters with whips. The parents whipped their daughters with a carpet beater and forced the girls to hit each other with a horsewhip. The abuse allegedly lasted for at least six months, according to the Swedish paper Expressen."

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Executed prisoners' last meals removed from website
Houston Chronicle | Submitted by: ladyshark
"For years, the details of executed killers' final repasts were the most popular feature of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's official Web site. But now the menus - posted for most of the 313 killers executed since 1982 - are history, dropped from the newly redesigned Web site by an image-conscious agency stung by claims the site was tasteless and demeaning. Where viewers once could learn that Houston killer Richard Head Williams, executed last winter, dined on two chili cheese dogs, two cheeseburgers, two orders of onion rings, french fries, chocolate cake, apple pie, butter pecan ice cream, egg rolls, one peach and three Dr Peppers, they now will see more features on prison workers and programs presented in a lively, user-friendly format."

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Afghan kids beaten during giveaway
canada.com | Submitted by: Rufferto
"A Canadian Forces truck at one of the poorest refugee camps in Afghanistan was quickly surrounded by hundreds of children as it arrived at the hillside camp in Kabul... Despite attempts by the soldiers to control the crowd, the shoeboxes - filled with toys, candy, toothpaste and other toiletries - were quickly snatched by children and parents alike... Several times, soldiers had to wave off adults, who beat the children with prodding sticks and tightly wound blankets as they advanced on the flatbed truck. No one suffered serious injuries as the children appeared to accept what, for them, is considered normal treatment by adults."

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Child rapist jailed for watching cable porn
Everett Herald | Submitted by: optional
"[Roy Hodges Haralson] will spend the next 10 years in prison because he violated terms of a special sentencing alternative for sex offenders that allowed him to spend just six months in jail and then undergo sexual deviancy treatment in the community. Haralson watched pornographic movies and then failed to report doing so to his community treatment provider, McKeeman found. Haralson, 53, of Stanwood was convicted of drugging and then raping a 10-year-old girl whom he knew. When she awoke the next morning, she was injured and there was a $20 bill on the bed next to her, prosecutors said. [Twenty bucks?] ... Haralson, faced with taking a routine lie detector test as part of his community placement, admitted he used the pay-for-view feature of his cable TV to watch pornographic movies."

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Prisoner released after eating enough forks
Aftonbladet | Submitted by: optional
Norwegian prisoner kept eating metal forks until one finally wound up stuck inside him. Sentence commuted to work release. Article in Swedish.

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SARS makes a brief cameo in Singapore
CNN | Submitted by: Richard Fannin
"Singapore's health ministry has ordered 70 people who possibly came into contact with a Taiwanese SARS patient to be quarantined. It announced the move Wednesday after Taiwan authorities confirmed that the Taipei researcher who traveled to Singapore earlier this month had tested positive for the lethal respiratory disease... The Taipei man is the second person to catch SARS since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak over in July... Taiwan had the world's third-worst outbreak of SARS this year, with 674 cases and 84 deaths, but no new cases were reported after June."

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Malaysia explores multicultural group circumcisions
BBC | Submitted by: Kreepy Monster
"Circumcision is a rite of passage for young Muslim boys, and in Malaysia it is common for the ceremony to become an event with dozens, or even hundreds of boys being circumcised together. Now the prime minister's religious affairs adviser has suggested that circumcision can bring Malaysians of all races and religions together. Dr Abdul Hamid Othman said that with the growing popularity of circumcision among the country's non-Muslim minorities - who see it as good hygienic practice - they too could be invited to join in the celebrations with their Muslim friends."

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Barbie denied entry to Saudi Arabia
San Francisco Chronicle | Submitted by: Schwag of Tulsa
"Saudi Arabia has banned the importation of female dolls and stuffed animals, giving merchants three months to dispose of such stock, a state-guided newspaper reported Wednesday... The ban singled out stuffed-animal toys and female dolls. It did not mention male dolls and it was not clear if these were banned as well. The order also ordered any mannequins for female clothes be 'far from any indecency' and prohibited the importation of crucifixes and models of Buddha."

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Earth on doomsday course with Sun
Information Week | Submitted by: FaceInTheSea
"According to an urgent advisory issued Wednesday morning by the National Weather Service, the Earth has broken out of its orbit and is careening toward a fiery end. 'Unusually hot weather has entered the region for December ... as the Earth has left its orbit and is hurtling towards the sun,' read the message, posted on the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration's Web site. 'Unusually hot weather will occur for at least the next several days as the Earth draws ever nearer to the sun. Therefore, an excessive heat watch has been posted.' ... [However, it] was only a test message, erroneously posted by during a training session, according to a Weather Service spokesman." [Sure, that's just what they want you to think.]

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