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Fri, 03 Feb 2023
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Shiite protesters in Bahrain encircle capital

© Associated Press
A Bahraini woman waves a national flag and carries a sign reading 'The people want the fall of the government' during a march tens of thousands strong
Manama, Bahrain - Thousands of Shiite protesters in Bahrain have formed a huge human chain around the capital, Manama, as their campaign to loosen the Sunni monarchy's grip on power in the strategic Gulf nation enters its third week.

No police were in sight Saturday as protesters - men and women - held hands to encircle Manama, where Bahrain's Shiite majority has been leading daily demonstrations to end what they say are discriminatory policies and political persecution.

Tensions have been high in the Gulf kingdom, the host of the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, since a street battle between Sunnis and Shiites on Thursday left at least a dozen people injured.

Organizers say some members of the Sunni minority joined Saturday's event.


US: Charlie Sheen latest: 'I'm Jewish, off to Haiti'

© Agence France-Presse
Troubled US actor Charlie Sheen rounded off a rollercoaster week by claiming that he couldn't be anti-Semitic because he is Jewish -- and saying he is off to Haiti, to help out there
Troubled US actor Charlie Sheen rounded off a rollercoaster week by claiming that he couldn't be anti-Semitic because he is Jewish -- and saying he is off to Haiti, to help out there.

Sheen, whose children were taken away from him a week after the hit TV series in which he stars was cancelled, said he should have mentioned his Jewishness when he was accused of anti-Semitism last week.

"My mom is Jewish. Here's where it gets confusing -- we don't know who her father was," he told the TV show Access Hollywood Live. "But she is, in fact, Jewish. So, I guess that would make me Jewish, and my children Jewish.

"And Brooke, my ex-wife is Jewish. So, I guess I should've rolled all that out too," he added.

Challenged about why he didn't mention this earlier, he added: "I know, I know -- stupid me .. I just got caught sleeping. Caught napping. Which is rare for me."

The comments came a week after hit TV show Two and a Half Men was canceled for the rest of the season following Sheen's repeated attack on its producer, Chuck Lorre.


U.S. Kids Who Skip School are Tracked by GPS

© Rose Palmisano, The Orange County Register
Juan Cruz Sr. signs an agreement with the Anaheim Union High School District to begin tracking his son's whereabouts through a hand-held GPS. The GPS was handed out to several students who have excessive truancy.
Anaheim - Frustrated by students habitually skipping class, police and school officials in Anaheim are turning to GPS tracking to ensure they come to class.

The Anaheim Union High School District is the first in California to test Global Positioning System technology as part of a six-week pilot program that began last week, officials said.

Seventh- and eighth-graders with four unexcused absences or more this school year are assigned to carry a hand held GPS device, about the size of a cell phone.

Each morning on schooldays, they get an automated phone call reminding them that they need to get to school on time.

Then, five times a day, they are required to enter a code that tracks their locations - as they leave for school, when they arrive at school, at lunchtime, when they leave school and at 8 p.m.


Risk mounts for refugees from Libya

© Emilio Morenatti/Associated Press
Men from Bangladesh, who worked in Libya but recently fled the unrest, wait for information during their repatriation process in a refugee camp at the Tunisia-Libyan border, in Ras Ajdir, Tunisia, on Saturday. Most Bangladeshis appear to have arrived in Tunisia penniless because their Libyan employers did not pay them or because they were robbed on the way.
Ras Adjir, Tunisia - Thousands of migrant workers were on the move in Libya on Saturday, trying to flee the fighting between rebels and forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi's regime, U.N. refugee agency officials said.

Most of the thousands of foreign workers in Libya's rebel-held port of Benghazi were evacuated, the officials said, and about 10,000 others inside Libya were heading for a border crossing at Salloum, Egypt.

At the Libya-Tunisia border, thousands spent the night in a 20,000-capacity tent camp, awaiting evacuation. Some of those coming from Libya in the past two days said they had attempted the journey before but were held back by heavy fighting along the way.

There has been a marked drop in the number of migrant workers coming across the border, from a peak of 20,000 several days ago to between 1,400 and 1,800, the U.N. said. On Saturday, only 500 had crossed into Tunisia by midday, said a U.N. official at the border.


Saudi Arabia bans protest rallies

© Unknown
King Abdullah unveiled $37bn in benefits for citizens after returning from abroad last week
Interior ministry vows to use all steps "to prevent attempts to disrupt public order" following recent Shia protests.

Saudi Arabia has banned all protests and marches following recent anti-government protests in the kingdom's east, reports say.

State television on Saturday quoted the interior ministry as saying that security forces would use all measures to prevent any attempt to disrupt public order.

The ban on public demonstrations comes amid media reports of a huge mobilisation of Saudi troops in Shia-dominated provinces in order to quell any possible uprising.

Black Cat

Louisiana, US: Child molester undergoes castration for parole

Port Allen, Louisiana - A convicted child molester in Louisiana has undergone surgical castration to win release from prison on parole.

Francis Phillip Tullier, who had faced hundreds of molestation counts involving young girls, pleaded guilty to three counts in 1999 and was sentenced to 27 years in prison. He is now 78.

His lawyer, Nathan Fisher, said that under the agreement Tullier could only be eligible for parole once he underwent castration.

A sheriff's investigator said Tullier agreed to have the surgery at his own expense. It was done Thursday after years of delays while Tullier was treated for various medical issues.

The Advocate newspaper reports that Tullier is due for release next week. He will live in Iberville Parish and has to register as a sex offender.

2 + 2 = 4

US: Bad lesson? Ohio Elementary School in Trouble after Black Student Made to Play Slave in Class

© WBNS.com
Nikko Burton is still waiting for an apology from his teacher, he told a local television station.
An Ohio school district is in hot water after the mother of a black fifth-grader said her son was assigned to play a slave for a social studies lesson.

Aneka Burton told a Columbus, Ohio, television station that in her 10-year-old son Nikko's social studies lesson, the class was divided into two groups: slaves and masters.

Nikko ended up in the slave group and said the students playing the master role would "look in your mouth and feel your legs and stuff and see if you're strong," according to WBNS-10TV.

His mom, understandably, was furious.

"He felt degraded," she told the television station. "I feel like that was totally inappropriate; it was racist and it was degrading."

Even worse, the incident was not a one-time thing, according to the school district.

After the uproar, a district spokesperson said in an emailed statement to the Daily News that the lesson will not be used again.


US: Renato Seabra, Alleged Castration Killer of Carlos Castro, too Crazy for Trial, Lawyer Says

Renato Seabra
© Siegel for News
Wearing a neon orange prison jacket and jet black hair, Renato Seabra stared straight ahead during the hearing
Accused castration killer Renato Seabra may claim he is too crazy to be tried for the torture death of his Portuguese lover in a midtown hotel, his defense lawyer said Friday.

Lawyer David Touger asked a Manhattan judge to give him more time to review St. Luke's hospital records - where Seabra, 21, headed before his arrest but after the ultra-violent, hourlong slaying of acclaimed fashion journalist and gay activist Carlos Castro, 65.

"Until we get those records, we are not making any decisions," the defense lawyer said. "They were the first people who saw Renato - they're the most important."

Wearing a neon orange prison jacket and jet black hair, Seabra stared straight ahead during the hearing. The male model's mother sat in the audience behind him.

Heart - Black

US: Prep Star Hits Game-Winning Shot for Perfect Season, Falls and Dies

Tragedy struck Western Michigan on Thursday night when Fennville (Mich.) High basketball star Wes Leonard hit a game-winning shot in a 57-55, overtime victory over Bridgman (Mich.) High, then collapsed on the court while celebrating the victory and was pronounced dead at a hospital shortly thereafter.

According to the Associated Press, Leonard, who you can see making the game-winning shot above, was celebrating his game-winning layup with the rest of his teammates when he collapsed to the ground. Paramedics tried CPR on the star at the site and in the ambulance, but he was pronounced dead upon reaching nearby Holland Hospital.

The star's death was due to an enlarged heart, Ottawa County medical examiner David A. Smart told ABC News after concluding an autopsy on the player's body on Friday.

"Obviously, in the midst of celebration, I think shocking is exactly the word," Fennville Superintendent Dirk Weeldreyer told The Holland Sentinel about Leonard's collapse.


US: Man Leaps to His Death from Casino on Las Vegas Strip

© Agence France-Presse
A view of the darkened Las Vegas Strip during Earth Hour in 2010. The Earth Hour global movement to help fight climate change is going beyond asking people to turn off their lights to making firm commitments to protect the environment, organisers said Wednesday
A man committed suicide on Friday by leaping off a ledge at the newly-built Cosmopolitan hotel and casino onto the famed Las Vegas Strip, police said.

Witness accounts place the man on a ledge at either the 6th floor or the 14th floor of the Cosmopolitan, the newest hotel and casino to open on the Strip, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police spokesman Marcus Martin said.

The hotel, which opened to much publicity on December 15, has 50 floors and nearly 3,000 rooms.

Marcus said police received calls that a man, who was not identified, was threatening to jump from the Cosmopolitan at about 4:45 a.m., Martin said.