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Pa. school defends spy charges

A school district accused of secretly switching on laptop webcams inside students’ homes said it never used webcam images to monitor or discipline students.

The Lower Merion School District acknowledged webcams were activated 42 times in the past 14 months but only to find missing, lost or stolen laptops.


France battles recent burka controversies

Islam in France is a touchy subject.

As the government continues to push to ban the burka — a full-body veil worn by many Muslim women — critics cite the move as proof of pervasive racism and xenophobia.


Danes challenge eco study

Denmark’s reputation as a leader in sustainability was at an all-time high after December’s U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. A new study, however, reveals the country might not live up to its idyllic green image.

Denmark ranked No. 32 with only average scores in the recent Environmental Performance Index released by researchers at Yale and Columbia Universities. Especially surprising was that Denmark was positioned in the same category as the United States, typically thought of as somewhat negligent in environmental conservation efforts.


Bio-diverse?

2010 is International Biodiversity Year for advocacy and education, but for IU professor Vicky Meretsky, every year is biodiversity year.

“We hope this will give us an opportunity to reach out, an opportunity for educating,” Meretsky said. “The people who work in conservation can only do so much without expanding the number of people involved.”


Missionaries freed by Haitian judge back in US

MIAMI — Eight American missionaries were back on U.S. soil Thursday but still faced possible child kidnapping charges in Haiti for trying to take 33 children out of the earthquake-ravaged country.

The group’s leader, Laura Silsby, and her former nanny, Charisa Coulter, remained in a Port-au-Prince jail because a judge said questions still remained about their plans to set up an orphanage in the Dominican Republic.


NJ bridge searchers: Baby’s survival odds are slim

NEWARK, N.J. — Officials searching for a baby believed to have been thrown off a bridge by her father acknowledge her chances of survival are slim by now.

Teams with boats, dogs and helicopters have found no sign of 3-month-old Zara Malani-lin Abdur in their third day of searching under a river bridge on the Garden State Parkway.



NY questions health claims of some 9/11 responders

NEW YORK — Lawyers defending New York City against thousands of lawsuits filed by Sept. 11 emergency responders say many of the claims are baseless and have asked a judge to dismiss some of the first cases headed toward trial.


The essence of the French

The country that brought us existentialism is having an existential crisis.

For months, the French government has been pushing a new series of debates regarding French identity. Public meetings on the topic took place.

As waves of immigrants, primarily from northern African countries, flood into cities across the country, the government hoped to create some sense of national unity, a sense of what it means to be French in a time when the face of the country is evolving dramatically.


Zionists bash head of college

After months of growing tension between Jewish and Muslim students at the University of California, Irvine, the Zionist Organization of America is asking potential students to apply elsewhere and donors to stop sending contributions.


No. 2 Taliban commander arrested

The capture of the Afghan Taliban’s No. 2 commander by a joint CIA and Pakistani team dealt a fresh blow to insurgents under heavy U.S. attack and raised hopes that Pakistani security forces are ready to deny Afghan militant leaders a safe haven.


Chilly weather can’t stop New Orleans’ big party

Pete Fountain, clarinet in hand and dapper in a white tuxedo and fedora trimmed in gold, kicked off Mardi Gras with his “Half Fast Walking Club” as he has for 50 years: with beads and jazz.


Man fights homosexuality conviction from 1959 Britain

He was convicted of a crime more than half a century ago, but what he did in 1959 — have consensual sex with another man — would be perfectly legal today.

So John Crawford, 70, said he wants his criminal record cleaned up for good so he doesn’t have to disclose his conviction when he seeks volunteer work and because of a deeply held belief that he should not be punished for his sexual orientation.



Man testifies in trial over bitten eyebrow

An Iraq war veteran whose eyebrow was partially bitten off at his wedding reception in Vermont is testifying at the trial of his alleged attacker.


Irish bishops meet pope in summit on sex abuse

A summit between Irish bishops and Pope Benedict XVI opened Monday in what Ireland’s top bishop called a first step toward repentance for the country’s clergy sex abuse scandal.


Police seek gunman who shot 2 teens at church service

Police are seeking a hooded gunman who horrified the congregation of a church when he paced the aisles and pulled out a gun and shot two teenagers.

No arrests had been made or suspects named in the Sunday shooting at New Gethsemane Church of God in Christ in Richmond, police said.


Midterms? Nah, we have a week off ...

This week is designated as “reading week” for many students at the University of Kent. During this week, there are no classes and students are encouraged to use the time to catch up on course work, which may include reading, essay writing and preparations for the exams at the end of the year. Each department has its own designated week for this purpose, although each week usually falls around the middle of the term.


Accused Alabama prof. shot, killed brother in 1986

More than 23 years before a college professor was accused of shooting six colleagues, her teenage brother died from the blast of a shotgun she held.

The 1986 shooting was ruled accidental and no charges were filed against Amy Bishop. The case could get a closer look as authorities try to explain why they believe the Harvard-educated neurobiologist opened fire Friday, killing three.


Identifying the unfamiliar

While most people are at least somewhat familiar with the Summer Olympics sports — swimming, running, basketball — there are a few in the Winter Games you’ve probably never tried.



Bringing Ghana to Vancouver

Friday, champions of snow and ice from around the globe will descend on Vancouver for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

Although the Olympic Games are billed as the embodiment of global diversity, many warm-weather countries have no winter athletes to offer.

In Africa and South America, participation in the Winter Olympics is rare, and success is even rarer. Enter Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong, the inexperienced underdog whose story is sure to turn skeptics into fans.


International inequality

Around the world, the Olympic rings are a symbol of unity, each representing a continent. Despite this, no African or South American has ever brought home a Winter Olympic Games medal. While the climate is certainly a factor, there is more to the issue, experts say.


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