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Students' duct-tape joke could get Ohio teacher fired

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Ohio teacher Melissa Cairns
A middle school teacher in Ohio could be fired for posting a picture of what she calls a shared joke with her students online.

WEWS-TV reported on Tuesday that Melissa Cairns has been placed on leave without pay for posting a picture last October of her students with duct tape over their mouths on Facebook with the caption, "Finally found a way to get them to be quiet!!!"

Cairns said the picture was the result of one students' playfully putting tape over her mouth after Cairns offered her some to help fix a broken binder. Some of the girl's classmates, Cairns said, were amused by the display and joined in. But a colleague reportedly saw the picture on Cairns' Facebook page and alerted management.

Ambulance

86-car pileup in Ohio kills 12-year-old girl and leaves at least 20 injured

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Blowing snow and slick, icy roads led to several multiple-car highway accidents in Ohio on Monday, including an 86-car pileup in Cincinnati, Ohio that killed a 12-year-old girl and left more than 20 injured. According to the New York Daily News, the huge crash took place on Interstate 275, close to the Colerain Township suburb. Police were summoned to the scene at around 11:30 a.m. when reports came in of "multiple chain-reaction collisions."

"She's about to die," said one man in horror as he filmed the crowd gathered around the teenage girl from the opposite lane, "Oh, my god." Then, as traffic slowly moved along the line of smashed and broken cars and trucks, he let out a stream of expletives. "Oh, my fucking god," he said, before training off, "Holy shi..." as the line of mangled vehicles stretched on and on.

Stop

Georgia sued for banning 'gay' license plates

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© Photo: Wikimedia Commons
An Atlanta man says that the state of Georgia violated his constitutional rights to free speech when it denied an application for vanity license plates with the word "gay."

Two free-speech attorneys have filed a lawsuit on behalf of James Cyrus Gilbert against Georgia Department of Driver Services Commissioner Robert G. Mikell after the the state refused to issue tags that said 4GAYLIB, GAYPWR and GAYGUY. The state, however, has approved religious plates with similar messages.

"It's not like I was asking for something that was vulgar or over the top," Gilbert told The Atlanta Constitution. "Denying someone the right to put gay on their tag, that's political. If I want I could get a tag that said straight man, but because it had gay on it, it's not available."

Wine n Glass

Lawmakers in Ireland vote to allow 'moderate' drunk-driving

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© Shutterstock
Kerry County Councillors have voted in favour of a motion which would allow people in rural Ireland to have 'two or three' drinks and still drive.

The motion put forward by councillor Danny Healy-Rae calls on the Minister for Justice to allow Gardaí to issue permits to people in the most isolated parts of the country to allow them to drive after drinking some alcohol.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie this evening, Danny Healy-Rae said the idea was to help "those people in every parish who are isolated and who can't get out of their place at night".

Handcuffs

Nurse arrested after allegedly having sex with corpse

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A male nurse in California is accused of necrophilia after he was allegedly caught committing a sex act on a dead woman.

Alejandro Razo, 61, was arrested Sunday at Sherman Oaks Hospital, where he works. Security guards called police after there was an "indication that a deceased patient had somehow been violated by an employee of the hospital," LAPD Lt. Andy Neiman told CBS Los Angeles.

Red Flag

Spanish schoolboy fakes kidnap to avoid parent-teacher conference

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© Photograph: Pedro Armestre/AFP/Getty Images
The Spanish civil guard later dismissed the schoolboy's fake kidnap claims as a childish prank.
Police officer's 11-year-old son, who claimed he was being driven away in boot of car, was found hiding in family home.

It was both dramatic and creative - but it was also one of the most over-the-top solutions ever invented for avoiding that well-known childhood nightmare, when parents are called in to talk to their teachers.

Early on Monday afternoon the unnamed 11-year-old son of a Spanish police officer stationed in the north-western town of Xinzo de Limia sent a text message from his mobile phone to tell his father he had been kidnapped.

When his father phoned back, the boy confirmed the worst. He had been snatched off the street as he was putting out the rubbish, he said, and was locked in the boot of a car. He had no idea where his kidnappers were taking him, but knew that the car he was in was a blue Seat.

Bizarro Earth

New Zealander starts campaign to eradicate pet cats

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© Getty Images
New Zealand is looking to ban cats in order to save a unique native bird species.
Gareth Morgan has a simple dream: a New Zealand free of cats. But the environmental advocate triggered a claws-out backlash Tuesday with his new anti-feline campaign.

Morgan called on his countrymen Tuesday to make their current cat their last in order to save the nation's unique native birds. He set up a website, called Cats To Go, depicting a tiny kitten with red devil's horns. The opening line: "That little ball of fluff you own is a natural born killer."

He doesn't recommended people euthanize their current cats - "Not necessarily but that is an option" are the site's exact words - but rather neuter them and not replace them when they die. Morgan, an economist and well-known businessman, also suggests people keep cats indoors and that local governments make registration mandatory.

But Morgan's campaign is not sitting well in a country that boasts one of the highest cat ownership rates in the world.

Heart

Michigan 'hero' teen hides rape victim from alleged attacker

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© Colleen Harrison | Mlive.com/The Saginaw News
James Persyn III, left, and Acelin Persyn, right, are seen in this Jan. 17, 2013 photo after an abducted Central Michigan University student who had been kidnapped and raped showed up at their home, seeking refuge.
A Michigan 14-year-old is being hailed as a hero by his community for helping to hide a rape victim in his house while her alleged attacker pounded on the doors, threatening to kill.

James Persyn III was at home in Shepherd, Mich., watching his siblings Acelin, 11, and Angus, 2, on Wednesday night while their father drove a few miles away to pick up his fiancee from work.

Suddenly, the children said they heard banging on the door and a woman screaming, "Let me in! Let me in!"

James opened the door and a panicked woman rushed into the kitchen. She shouted that someone had kidnapped her and was trying to kill her. She told the children they needed to hide.

Cell Phone

Montana family accused of $70M in bogus cell phone charges

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© Fotolia
A Montana family and their accountant are accused of tacking $70 million in bogus charges onto customer phone bills nationwide, then funneling some of that money through a religious organization to buy land and pay for the husband's legal bills.

Steven Sann, his wife Terry, son Nathan and accountant Robert Braach run a maze of nine companies engaged in "cramming, " or adding unauthorized charges to a customer's phone bill, according to a civil complaint filed this month by the Federal Trade Commission.

When customers complained or phone companies grew suspicious about one of the Sanns' companies charging phone bills, they would switch over to another company, the complaint says.

Gold Coins

Saudi's inflation driven by rent and food prices

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The Central Department for Statistics and Information (CDSI) has released CPI data for December showing inflation remained at the 3.9 per cent year-on-year level observed in the previous month.

"This puts the annual inflation for last year at 4.5 per cent-year-on-year in line with our forecasts. For 2013, we expected inflation to be mainly driven by rent and housing related services as well as food prices," said Jadwa Investments in a report.

"While the latter is expected to likely be less of a concern as international food prices are slowing down, we expect rent and housing related services to continue the current gradual downward trend," it continued. "Government housing initiative is likely to reduce pressure on such component, but we do not expect such effect to materialise before next year. As such, we expect inflation in 2013 to reach 4.3 per cent year-on-year down from 4.5 per cent last year.